29 May 2015, Abuja — The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has denied speculations that it had concluded the process of disbursing the Federal Government’s N300 billion real sector intervention facility to operators.
The facility was designed to aid the repositioning of the real sector in its contribution to the Nigerian economy.
A statement from the apex bank’s Director of Corporate Communications, Alhaji Ibrahim Mu’azu, indicated that the bank was still appraising the list and was not close to effecting any disbursement as wrongly being insinuated by some people.
The statement read in part: “The bank is appraising the over 200 applications received in respect of the N300 billion Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF). The policy objectives of the RSS Facility are to provide long-term, low-interest financing intervention in support of the real sector of the Nigerian economy to increase output, create jobs and conserve foreign exchange.
“The applications by Nigerian SMEs for the N300 billion RSS facility is still in progress, in strict compliance with the eligibility criteria of the Facility. As soon as the appraisals are concluded, recommendations would be made to management of the Bank for approval and subsequent disbursement”.
Mu’azu however urged applicants for the RSSF to exercise patience to enable the Bank to conclude the appraisals and to disregard speculations.
“Speculations by some applicants for the facility has been rife as they allege shady management and handling of the N300 billion Real Sector Support Facility announced last year by president Goodluck Jonathan.
“Last Monday, about seven manufacturers who applied for the facility as directed by the CBN in its original guideline claimed that they had been sidelined in the fund. They noted that the directives to them was to apply for the fund, which each manufacturer was expected to get N10 billion support loan, and after applying and satisfying the conditions, they have not heard from the bank on the outcome”, he added.
Citing a statement attributed to some manufacturers that had expressed their grievance concerning the facility, Mu’azu said the manufacturers had accused the bank of perfecting a list of 30 companies identified as manufacturers but with no known manufacturing outfit anywhere as the beneficiaries.
Indeed, they expressed fears that the list the CBN has and the beneficiaries, to whom the facility would be distributed, would be fraudulent and will not serve the interest of the manufacturing sector of the economy.
In a memo sent to the manufacturers in December 2014, CBN had noted: “The Central Bank of Nigeria, as part of the efforts to unlock the potential of the real sector to engender output growth, value added productivity and job creation has established a N300 billion Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF). “The facility will be used to support large enterprises for startups and expansion financing needs of N500 million up to a maximum of N10.0 billion. The real sector activities targeted by the Facility are manufacturing, agricultural value chain and selected service sub-sectors. These Guidelines relate to the operational modalities of the RSSF.”
*Mathias Okwe – The Guardian