Nigerians Struggle to Repay N261.07 Billion COVID-19 Loan – CBN

According to a recent report by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerians who availed themselves of the targeted credit facility (TCF) jointly provided by the CBN and NIRSAL Microfinance Bank during the COVID-19 pandemic are facing challenges in repaying a substantial portion of the loan. Out of the N419.42 billion disbursed through the facility since its launch in April 2020, only about N41.39 billion has been repaid in principal, with approximately N174.60 million in interest payments. However, a significant outstanding amount of roughly N378.03 billion remains, with an alarming overdue amount of N261.07 billion.

The TCF was designed to mitigate the economic impacts of the pandemic on households and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Despite contributing to the creation of 1,585,872 direct and indirect jobs, many beneficiaries are struggling to meet their repayment obligations.

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Notably, the document released by the CBN highlights that only one beneficiary, Centriculture Limited, has been categorized as ‘performing’, having repaid N1 million of the loan. The rest, including the top beneficiaries who received N2.5 million each for SME finance, are labeled as ‘non-performing’.

In light of these challenges, the CBN has proposed recommendations for better management of the intervention, including integrating it into the Agri-Business/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AgSMEIS) and developing a clear exit strategy aligned with the outstanding balance to ensure the smooth closure of the scheme.

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