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    Sunday, September 17, 2023

    Beneficiaries Fume Over Recovery of COVID-19 Intervention Loans

    Beneficiaries of the over N500 billion loan given out by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2020 to cushion the economic effect of COVID-19 in 2021 are complaining about the ongoing move for the repayment of the facility.

    Some of the beneficiaries of the loan initiative, a Targeted Credit Facilities (TCF) complained that they were not told they would be asked to repay the loan given to ameliorate harsh socio-economic realities given by the CBN through NIRSAL Microfinance Bank (NMFB).

    But NMFB recently called for the repayment of COVID-19 loans given to households and business operators across the country.

    Some beneficiaries of the facility also expressed concern about the manner of recovery of the loan.

    A beneficiary, Fatimah Alli, said that the sudden move to recover her N500,000 COVID-19 loan had worsened her financial challenges.

    “I got a loan of N500,000 in 2020 to cushion the effect economic effect of COVID-19. But at that time we were assured that we would not be required to repay the money.

    “But recently, all the money in my bank account was removed by the CBN as part of the loan recovery drive,” she said.

    Another beneficiary of the TCF, Abbas Sule, also complained about arbitrary loan deductions from his bank account.

    “When I was granted the loan facility in 2020, the bank official that processed the release through NIRSAL Microfinance Bank (NMFB) got a commission of N50, 000, and I was paid N450,000.

    “Now they want me to repay N500,000, that is not fair, ” he said.

    The CBN had in March 2020, introduced the N50 billion TCF to support households and Micro, Small and Medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) that have been particularly hit hard by COVID-19.

    The loans were disbursed to beneficiaries by NIRSAL, an entity owned by CBN, at an interest rate of five per cent with a moratorium period that lasts till February 28, 2021.

    At the expiration of the moratorium, the interest rate of the facility reverts to nine per cent from March 1, 2021.

    According to NMFB in Its official twitter handle, we have played our part. It is now your turn.

    The MFB revealed that it had given out loans worth N503 billion to more than 881,081 Nigerians and business operators to cushion the effects of the pandemic.

    It urged beneficiaries to take steps to repay the loans, as they were not given as grants.

    “You are expected to visit the nearest NIRSAL branch to obtain a loan repayment schedule.

    You must ensure that your loan account is always funded,” it said. -NAN

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