The CBN has released the guidelines that must be followed by individuals and companies to access the N50billion targeted credit facility for households and Small and Medium Enterprises that are badly hit by COVID-19. This is contained in a circular issued by CBN and signed by its Director, Financial Policy and Regulation, Kevin Amugo. The apex bank had last week unveiled the fund in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which had led to unprecedented disruptions to global supply chains, sharp drop in global crude oil prices, turmoil in global stock and financial markets, the lockdown of large swaths movements of persons in many countries, among others. The outcome of the disease has had severe consequences on households’ livelihoods and business activities, resulting from a drop in global demand, declined consumer confidence and slowdown in production.
In this respect, the CBN introduced the N50billion Targeted Credit Facility as a stimulus package to support households and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. CBN said that those that can benefit from the fund are households with verifiable evidence of livelihood adversely impacted by COVID-19; existing enterprises with verifiable evidence of business activities adversely affected as a result of the pandemic and enterprises with bankable plans to take advantage of opportunities arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the CBN guideline, activities covered under the scheme include agricultural value chain activities; hospitality (accommodation and food services); health (pharmaceuticals and medical supplies); and airline service providers.
Others are manufacturing/value addition; trading and any other income-generating activities as may be prescribed by the CBN. It said, “The scheme would be financed from the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund and the eligible participating financial institution for the Scheme would be NIRSAL Microfinance Bank.” The apex bank added that the loan amount would be determined based on the activity, cashflow and industry size of beneficiary, subject to a maximum of N25m for SMEs. It said households can access a maximum of N3million while working capital would be a maximum of 25 per cent of the average of the previous three years’ annual turnover.
It is expected that these palliatives will go a long way in reducing the already unsavory economic and business hardship meted on SMEs in the Country.