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50,000 Farmers Get N70bn Loan From DBN



Central Bank of Nigeria CBN

By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

The Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) Monday disclosed that it has given out N70 billion as loans to over 50,000 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) within three years. 

Chairman of the bank, Dr. Shehu Yahaya said this at the maiden seminar series of the bank with the theme: Surviving To Thriving: “MSMEs as the key to unlocking inclusive growth in Africa”, held in Abuja.

Yahaya said that bank will continue to work in line with its mandate which is to alleviate financing constraints being faced by the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.

He said that it was important that the government sought ways to boost job creation through formal enterprises.


He also observed that poverty and inequality had deepened in the country due to population and economic growth which led to rise in unemployment rate. 

Yahaya said that DBN has changed the narrative by providing finance and partial credit guarantees to eligible financial intermediaries based on market conformity as well as full financially sustainability.

In his address, the Managing Director of DBN, Mr. Tony Okpanachi, said  as bedrock of economic growth and development, MSMEs could play a critical role in accelerating economic transformation and industrialization.

According to Okpanachi, the lecture series was one of the ways to further strengthen the economy by ensuring that MSMEs were adequately empowered to continually contribute effectively to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the nation.

Citing data from both SMEDAN and National Bureau of Statistics (NBC) which put the number of MSMEs in Nigeria at 41.5million, the Managing Director said that they collectively contribute over 50 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP.

“However, access to finance is still a concern for this critical segment of the economy. The latest figure indicates that at the Micro level, about 90.5% do not have access to credit whilst thefigure for SMEs is put at 67.9%. Other pressing areas which rank high for SMEs are assistance in power and water supply – 83.5% as well as tax rate reduction- 73.1%.”

Underscoring the importance of the event, the Okpanachi said MSMEs are the bedrock of Nigeria’s Industrialization and inclusive economic development noting that as the largest employers in many low-income countries including Nigeria, their viability and growth has been restricted by lack of access to long-term debt capital.

“Our mandate at the Development Bank of Nigeria is to alleviate financing constraints faced by the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria through the provision of financing and partial credit guarantees to eligible financial intermediaries on a marketconforming and fully financially sustainable basis and this lecture series is our way of providing a platform for a robust exchange of ideas to tackle the challenges and take advantage of opportunities that exist in the MSME segment of the economy.

“We believe that at the end of today’s interactions we would have a broadened understanding of these challenges and critically examine and act towards practical steps to resolve some of the obstacles that constrain growth within the segment,” he added.

The inaugural Development Bank of Nigeria Plc Annual Lecture Series, is meant to deliberate and forge a sustainable way forward for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), not just in Nigeria, but across Africa.

In his keynote address, former President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Dr. Donald Kaberuka, asserted that unfavorable government policies and bureaucracies rather than lack of access to finance was the major drawback to growth of MSMEs.

 “Think of a small car repairer in Kaduna, or a small kiosk owner in Soweto. If electricity is unreliable his small margins are gone even if they had access to finance.

“Think of red tape, and multiple level taxation or inability to access government procurement or not being paid on time.

“But there is also inexperienced management and capacity, and limited access to accounting services,’’ he said.

Kaberuka called on the Nigerian government to intensify efforts to achieve more than six per cent growth if Nigerians were to feel impact of the growing economy. 

The maiden edition of the lecture series, was conceived as a thought leadership initiative aimed at providing a platform for a robust exchange of ideas to meet the challenges and opportunities that exist in the MSME segment of the economy.

Business News

Reps Reject Disengagement of Local Contractor from $100m Loan to Fight Malaria




By Ubong Ukpong, Abuja 

The House of Representatives Committee on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has lampooned the Ministry of Health over the disengagement of a local contractor in a $100 million loan agreement between Nigeria and the Islamic Development Bank meant to address the challenge of malaria in the country.

Chairman of the Committee, Hon Amobi Ogah in a stakeholders meeting to address the matter was displeased that succour that was expected through the intervention was yet to materialize even after signing the agreement in 2022.

In his ruling at the meeting, Amobi directed that Minister of Health, Prof Ali Muhammad Pate, who was in attendance to provide a comprehensive report of the transactions pertaining to the agreement to the committee within two weeks.

The report is expected to explain in detail why the local vendors approved for the agreement were disqualified and not given access to the job.

Amobi said the meeting was to resolve the logjam that seemed to have crippled the implementation of the Islamic Bank Loan to support malaria elimination in Nigeria under the Lives and Livelihood Project.

He said the project aims to reduce under-five mortality in Nigeria from 132 to 79 per 1,000 births by 2030.

“We are aware that Malaria continues to exert a huge burden on majority of Nigerians, with the greatest toll affecting children under 5 and pregnant women. Nigeria contributes 27% of the global malaria cases, (World Malaria Report, 2021) and 31% of global Malaria deaths. In view of this sad story every effort must be made to support any initiative that attempts to reduce or eliminate malaria burden in Nigeria. 

“However we are at a loss as to the reason why the Loan agreement between Nigeria and the Islamic Bank which is expected to last for 3 years, that is terminating by end of this year, has suffered monumental setback and we as the Parliament, representing the people of Nigeria who are affected and ravaged daily by malaria epidemic cannot fold our hands and watch matters degenerate so badly, hence our intervention in this matter.

“The Committee on ATM under my leadership has set a clear vision that it will no longer be business as usual, that Nigeria and Nigerians should be the focus of Government policies and programs. It is said that when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers and, in this case, we know the grass; the grass is Nigerians ravaged and battered by malaria and the opportunity to receive succour through the intervention of the Islamic Bank loan is yet to materialise after the signing of agreement in 2022. We however, don’t know whether the Elephants fighting here is the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare? Or is it the Local Manufacturers of Insecticidal Nets? Or is it UNOPS?

“While the Committee is eager to hear from all the parties involved in this saga, we will make it categorically clear that as a Parliament we will not tolerate any entity that will toy with the lives of our people, we must think locally and grow our local capacity to ensure that malaria is eradicated from our Country. 

“There is nowhere in the world that sovereign laws of a State are not respected and obeyed and the Parliament will guard jealously the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as it relates to Executive Orders and no entity or non state actors should go contrary to these Laws.

“We must put our House in order if we must win the fight against malaria, we cannot continue to pursue shadows and keep running in cycles while leaving out the substance and our people are worst for it. We must say enough is enough and be genuinely ready to do something meaningful for Nigeria and Nigerians. Therefore this contractual logjam must be resolved today one way or the other,” he said.

The Health Minister, Pate, said the agreement was reversed because there were issues with the local producer.

He said according to the design of the loan, there was an agreement by the government to utilise a United Nations procurement agent, UNOPS, and a Memorandum of Understanding was signed.

“The provisions for all commodities, drugs test kits would be channelled through UNOPS in particular, those that are going to be produced here should be bought here. For bed nets in specific terms, the original MOU was for the bed nets to be procured using national competitive bidding on the assumption that they were three local producers who are prequalified.

“Of the three only one was prequalified and that is the company in the country that was to be involved. The tender process started in early 2023. The process ran into procedural difficulty and it was suspended by UNOPS in an open and transparent manner and investigated. Consequently the MOU was reversed because there were issues with this sole producer. Amendment was made to go for international competitive bidding and that revised MOU was signed by a member of the government,” he said.

He acknowledged that the country still has a malaria challenge and the Islamic Development Loan is a major effort that started four years ago as part of Nigeria’s effort to achieve malaria elimination.

He said, “It is a $100 million loan that was meant for five states, Bayelsa, Edo, Enugu, Kogi and FCT. The Federal Government signed and negotiated the loan and also state level legal agreements with those five entities were constructed by the Islamic Development Bank though and the Ministry of Finance so that they are borrowing that money to implement the malaria programme.”

According to him, the $100 million dollars consisted of a $90 million loan that is repayable and a $10 million grant.

He said, “This was done in 2020 and the implementation activity started. Since that loan was signed and became effective, a total of $62 million was disbursed through the UNOPS in two tranches. For the Ministry of Health only $201, 000 dollars has been spent from the proceeds at the federal level.

“Of what has been disbursed to UNOPS as the procurement agent as per the agreement that was designed and signed by the federal government on behalf of those states for this loan, there is a balance of $54 million that is still with UNOPS. So only about $8 million dollars has been utilised in buying drugs, kits, and commodities necessary as part of the programme and on their way to be delivered because UNOPS was agreed to be the procurement agents.

“So the $54 million that is at hand is what we are looking at how it can be executed. There is another part of the loan that has not yet been disbursed to UNOPS. So if you look at it almost 90 percent of this resource is yet to be activated and 98 percent of it all is yet to be activated and utilised.”

Director and Representative of the UNOPS, Ghana Multi Country Office, Ifeoma Charles-Monwuba, said there was an anomaly with local contractor lacked capacity hence the need to terminate their agreement.

She said, “The agreement with UNOPS was signed in September 2022, however there was a clause inserted that meant that that if it did not become effective until December 2022 and by January 2023 we did a training for local vendors that were supposed to participate, we did a training for them and by February 2023 the tender launched. 

“Like the Minister said in evaluating particularly the bed nets, they were issues. For the antimalarial drugs, all the anti medicines have been procured and all locally procured. All have undergone quality control testing and we have written to the national malaria programme to bring the distribution list so the local manufacturer can distribute that. 

“So local manufacturing and procurement of medicine has been done. For the medicine not manufactured locally, it was agreed to be procured internationally. Shipments have started arriving. All the other products are already on track and it’s the bed nets that is the issue.”

The Committee said according to a submission by UNOPS, a United Nations agent, employed as the procurement agent for the project the reasons for dropping the local contractor were unclear.

It said according to the submission there were conflicting reasons given for the action including that it was due to an anomaly, that the local contractor lacked capacity, that they needed to change specifications and that they had information from a whistleblower on why the agreement should be discontinued.

Responding, the Committee Chairman, Ogah, said, “With due respect, what UNOPS has done in this transaction is so bad because if they can tell us as a country that they cannot tell us what the local manufacturer has done that made them disqualify this local manufacturer. The reason why we are all here is because of Nigeria. If it is a grant or aid it would be different. We are here because it is a loan that we are going to pay back with interest. We demand a report from the Ministry

“Anything that would undermine our quest to encourage local producers and manufacturers we seriously frown on it. All of a sudden the whole intent and purpose were changed in favour of foreign bid to supply the materials whereas as we have one which you earlier pre-qualified and all of a sudden it was set aside to encourage foreigners to supply the net in Nigeria,” he said.

The Speaker, Rt Hon Tajudeen Abbas, who was represented by the House Leader, Prof Julius Ihonvbare, hoped the matter would be resolved amicably.

“With the calibre of members of the committee, I have no doubt that whatever is causing the challenge would be resolved.

“We have a commitment to protect the local market and producers and encourage local production to prevent capital flight and encourage the development of skills and capacity to do better.

“We are shocked the matter has lasted this long. Many of us come from rural constituencies with poor access to medical services and we know now our people are suffering, so for an Mou to be signed and it has taken over four years is an embarrassment and hope we can resolve the matter and find the way forward,” he said 

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Business News

Construction of 50,000 housing units to  create 1.2m jobs – FG



The Federal Government has said that the construction of 50,000 housing units under phase one of the Renewed Hope Housing Cities and Estates will create over 1.2 million direct and indirect jobs.

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ahmed Dangiwa, made this known on Friday in Abuja, at the ministerial  briefing on the performance of President Bola Tinubu’s administration in the last one year.

Dangiwa said that the job creation was in addition to the value chain effects of the purchase and supply of building materials, as well as businesses around the construction sites among others.

He explained that the ministry’s vision was to create an efficient housing market where all Nigerians would have the right to a secured, decent, and affordable home as a platform for active participation in economic development.

Dangiwa added that the ministry’s overall strategic action plan was centred on the three core pillars of the Tinubu Renewed Hope Agenda.

He said that the ministry had achieved some major milestone in housing in the last one year like the planning and actualisation of the Renewed Hope Cities and Estates Development Programme inaugurated by President Bola Tinubu earlier this year.

According to him, the Renewed Hope Housing Programme is designed to be a catalyst for economic growth, adding that the construction and development of the new areas will generate employment opportunities, stimulate local businesses, and attract investments.

”From the ministry’s 2024 approved budget, we are also rolling out another batch of Renewed Hope Estates of semi-detached bungalows.

”To enhance affordability and ease of off take, we used organic designs where one bedroom can be expanded to two-bedrooms and three-bedrooms as the income of beneficiaries increase over time,’’ he added.

Dangiwa further said that the programme aimed to address social inequality by providing a broad range of affordable ownership options.

He said this included single digit and up to 30 years mortgage loans to be provided by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria.

He said that the other programme included rent-to-own options where beneficiaries could move in and pay towards homeownership in monthly, quarterly, or annual instalments and outright purchase for high income earners.

He disclosed that the government approved the total sum of N126.5 billion from the 2023 supplementary and 2024 budget for the projects including slum upgrade and urban renewal.

The minister explained that the ministry currently had estates in 12 states and three cities nationwide namely Katsina, Yobe, Gombe, Abia, Nasarawa, Benue, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Sokoto, Oyo, Osun, Abuja, Yobe and Lagos..

He revealed that contractors had been mobilised and commenced work to deliver 3,500 units, adding that an MoU had been signed with reputable developers to build  100,000 housing units nationwide.

”Work has commenced for 3,112 housing units under this public-private-partnership bringing the total number of housing units currently under construction to 6,612”, he said. (NAN) (

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Business News

NAICOM, RMAFC Collaborate on Economic Diversification 




By Tony Obiechina, Abuja 

The Commissioner for Insurance and CEO, Mr. Olusegun Ayo Omosehin, and his management team have met with the members of the Constitutional Committee on “Mobilisation and Diversification” of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission ( RMAFC) led by Engr.

Sani Mohammed Baba, to explore ways of diversifying the Nigerian economy.

During their working visit to NAICOM Headquarters, Mr.

Olusegun Ayo Omosehin, in his opening remarks, reaffirmed the critical role of the insurance sector regulator in supervising, regulating, and safeguarding the interests of insurance policyholders. 

He highlighted insurance’s pivotal role in mobilising savings for long-term developmental projects and enabling businesses to thrive while managing risks effectively.


He also stressed the Commission’s commitment to ensuring insurance companies meet their obligations, thus contributing to the sustainability of the economy.

Speaking, Mohammed Baba emphasised the importance of revenue generation, institutional expansion, and employment creation for Nigerians through collaborative efforts.

The Commissioner for Insurance also acknowledged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s ambitious goal of growing the Nigerian economy to One Trillion United States Dollars ($1 trillion) by 2026. 

He expressed the insurance sector’s intent to significantly contribute to this objective. Additionally, he mentioned ongoing efforts to embed insurance within the National Credit Scheme to ensure its sustainability.

Omosehin stressed the need for continuous advocacy and sensitization of government institutions about the vital role of insurance in national economic development.

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