Beneficiaries Caught Off-Guard As CBN Begins COVID-19 Loan Recovery

AB9NGK Nigerian Central Bank, Abuja, Nigeria. Image shot 2007. Exact date unknown.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is set to recover loans granted to some Nigerians to ameliorate harsh socio-economic realities.

The loan initiative involved is the Targeted Credit Facilities (TCF), granted to them in 2020 to cushion the economic effect of COVID-19.

Some facility beneficiaries, however, expressed concern about the manner of recovery.

A beneficiary, Fatimah Alli, said 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.

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

In March 2020, the CBN 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 from February 28, 2021.

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

“We have played our part. It is now your turn,” NMFB said on its official Twitter handle,

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.

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