Dr Olayemi Michael Cardoso
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is set to recover loans it granted some Nigerians to ameliorate harsh socio-economic realities.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the loan initiative involved is the Targeted Credit Facilities (TCF), granted in 2020 to cushion the economic effect of COVID-19.
Some beneficiaries, however, expressed concern about the manner of recovery.
A beneficiary, Fatimah Alli, said the sudden move to recover her N500,000 loan has worsened her financial challenges.
“I got a loan of N500,000 in 2020 to cushion the economic effect of COVID-19. But at that time, we were assured we would not be required to repay the money. Recently, all the money in my bank accounts was removed by the CBN as part of the loan recovery drive,” she said.
Another beneficiary, Abbas Sule, also complained about arbitrary loan deductions from his bank account.
He said: “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.”
Meanwhile, there is low recovery of loans granted to some farmers under the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).
NAN reports that at inception in November 2015, the ABP was designed by the CBN to provide farm input in kind and cash to smallholder farmers.
The aim was to boost production of food commodities, stabilise input supply to agro-processors and address the country’s negative balance of payments on food.
By 2022, the apex bank revealed that, at least, 4.8 million farmers had benefited from the programme.
But the programme has been marred by loan default, even as food prices rose significantly within the years it took effect.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), 76 per cent of the loans collected by beneficiaries were yet to be repaid.
The IMF said agricultural credit in the country had not succeeded in increasing production due to difficulty in reaching the targeted farmers. It said that although the CBN allowed farmers to pay in cash or give the central bank produce of the same value under the ABP, repayments had been very low.