By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
NIRSAL Micro Finance Bank (NMFB) has denied claims that it shut out 100,000 loan applicants under the Agribusiness Small & Medium Enterprises Scheme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in Anambra State.
The Management of the Bank said in a statement on Sunday that the accusation “is not only spurious but unfounded as NMFB frowns at any form of unethical practices or unprofessional conduct which contravenes our policy and core values”.
The statement reads: “The attention of the Management of NIRSAL Microfinance Bank has been drawn to some claims by certain individuals on social media that applied for loans, under the Agribusiness/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) of the Central Bank of Nigeria that the Bank conspired with some EDIs to extort money from applicants with the promise to grant them approvals for their loan requests.
“This accusation is not only spurious but unfounded as NMFB frowns at any form of unethical practice or unprofessional conduct which contravenes our policy and core values.
“Till date, NIRSAL Microfinance Bank has disbursed the sum of N101billion to 26,274 AGSMEIS applicants across the six geo-political zones in the country with emphasis on even spread. We are therefore surprised with the narrative that applicants from the South East are marginalized under this scheme. This statement is malicious.
“Our process is not only transparent but also ensures that successful applicants are Nigerians who are well experienced in their line of business and have met with the criteria set out for lending.
“NIRSAL Microfinance Bank has repeatedly warned applicants, through various social media platforms, that the AGSMEIS loan application process is individual-based, after the completion of a N10,000-cost training exercise by NMFB-accredited Entrepreneurial Development Institutions, (EDIs).
“The business plan, which is also automatically generated on the portal, has two options – a free application and another that cost N5,000. Applicants have the liberty to use any of the two business plan options. No EDI has the right to charge extra cost.
“We implore applicants to report any observed anomalies or form of solicitation from individuals or enterprise via [email protected] or call 07041800003 or 094621730 or contact the nearest NIRSAL Microfinance Bank.
“We wish to use this medium to inform the applicants who were recently sent a decline application message due to their inability to meet our set current risk assessment criteria that they can re-apply with a business plan tailored to the new maximum of N3million threshold at no cost to them. Once again, we remind all Nigerians that the AGSMEIS loan is not a GRANT but a LOAN”
Recall that the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele had disclosed at the last MPC meeting that “for the Agribusiness/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS), the sum of N121.57 billion was disbursed to 32,617 beneficiaries; and for the Targeted Credit Facility (TCF), N318.17 billion was released to 679,422 beneficiaries, comprising 572,189 households and 107,233 Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs)”.