NIRSAL Microfinance Bank (NMFB) has begun the disbursement of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) N50billion loan as COVID-19 palliatives to SMEs and households.

The first batch of the beneficiaries shortlisted totalled 3,256 and these applicants are mostly those involved in the production sector.

They started their documentation on Thursday and NIRSAL said those who successfully completed their documentation will have their accounts credited without delay.

The Managing Director of the bank, Abubakar Abdullahi Kure said the bank expects “to do disbursements in batches every week.” Kure told the beneficiaries to make sure the amount being disbursed go a long way to reactivate their businesses and to allow people to stay in their job as well as allow the economy to normalize.

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Speaking on how far the N50 billion targeted credit facility will go, Kure assured that “people that have not gotten should know it will cover them.

Hopefully, It will go far.” The idea, he noted, “is to allow more people to get it. But you know the N50 billion cannot go round.

Resources are limited. The idea is to allow a greater number of people to have it”. He emphasised that the loan is “a short term relief. It is just to allow you to have liquidity around your cash flow.

This is to support you, pending when businesses open.” Kure also added that for now, the number of applicants has grown significantly. On the challenges that the bank have had to confront, the NMFB boss stated that, “incidentally, the reason the fund is established is also the major challenge – there has been a restriction of movement of people, businesses have been shut down.”

He lamented that “to do some level of documentation is difficult. We use different creative ways to get people to sign certain forms and perform documentation.

The physical interaction that would have fast-tracked the process is not there.” But for the restrictions, Kure noted that the disbursements “would have been more frequent than that.

But we are thinking outside the box to find possible ways to get it done. We hope as the COVID-19 numbers are going down, we hope it will accelerate our disbursement rate.” The documentation process Kure said will continue.

“This is just the first phase. We are starting with Abuja because of conveniences. Abuja is within our reach.

“We have about 53 branches. Given the level of risk, some of them are providing skeletal services. As the situation demands, we are open to the public for the applicants to fill in their relevant documentation,” the MD explained.

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