The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is set to recover loans it granted to Nigerians under the Targeted Credit Facilities (TCF) initiative in 2020 to cushion the economic effect of COVID-19.
Some beneficiaries of the facility, however, have expressed concern about the abruptness of the recovery.
A beneficiary, Fatimah Alli, said that 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 economic effects of COVID-19. 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 TCF beneficiary, 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 lamented.
NAN reports that NMFB recently called for the repayment of COVID-19 loans given to households and business operators across the country.
In March 2020, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced the N50 billion TCF to support households and Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) that have been particularly hard hit by COVID-19.
The loans were disbursed to beneficiaries by NIRSAL Micro Finance Bank, an entity owned by CBN, at an interest rate of five per cent with a moratorium period that lasts until February 28, 2021.
At the expiration of the moratorium, the interest rate of the facility reverts to nine per cent on March 1, 2021.
NMFB, on its official X handle, stated: “We have played our part. It is now your turn.”
The microfinance bank 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.
Urging beneficiaries to take steps to repay the loans, as they were not given as grants, NMFB directed: “You are expected to visit the nearest NIRSAL branch to obtain a loan repayment schedule. You must ensure that your loan account is always funded.”