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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will kick off the disbursement of the N50 billion fund, aimed at supporting households and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises severely affected by COVID-19, on Thursday.

Already, the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), which manages the fund, has received applications in excess of 80,000.

Abubakar Kure, the Managing Director of NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, said people whose applications were successful would start having access to their facilities on Thursday.

“But we are hopeful that towards Thursday or Friday, the disbursement of the fund would commence.”

Read also: Nigeria’s inflation rate rises to 12.26% in March, highest in 23 months

The N50 billion Targeted Credit Facility is financed from the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund, which the CBN launched in 2013 with a share capital of N220 billion.

The facility has a maximum limit of N25 million for SMEs while the amount that can be accessed will be decided on the basis of the activity, cash flow and industry size of each beneficiary.

Households cannot access more than N3 million while working capital will be a maximum of 25% of the average annual turnover of the three preceding years.

According to CBN guidelines, households with proof of livelihood negatively affected by COVID-19, existing enterprises with proof of business activities negatively affected by COVID-19 and enterprises with bankable plans are eligible to benefit from the fund.

Areas covered under the program include health (pharmaceuticals and medical supplies), agricultural value chain, airline service providers, hospitality (accommodation and food services), manufacturing/value addition, trading and any other income-generating activities as prescribed by the CBN.


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