Charles Onyekwere, Enugu:
The objectives of the Federal Government’s N220 billion Special Development Intervention Fund for Micro finance banks are being impeded by politicisation, head of Credit Department, Umuchinemere Pro-credit Micro Finance Bank, Mr Charles Udeani has alleged.
The bank’s Head of Public Relations/Media Unit, Sir Abuchi Anuenyiagu, Udeani stated in Enugu that the politicisation of the fund has led many people especially politicians into accessing it and refusing to pay back, adding that this has been the trend since 2014 when the Scheme was introduced
Udeani, who was speaking on the performance of the Fund, said many who accessed it vanished from their former places of residence without trace till date.
He added that the delinquency in the performance of the Fund was adversely affecting the realisation of the poverty reduction objective and the revolving policy of the Fund, a development he observed as injurious to the economic health and growth of the country because “the loan which had one year tenure was meant to encourage entrepreneurship and reduce poverty in the country.”
He said that Umuchinemere Pro-credit Micro Finance Bank participated in the disbursement of the MSME Special Development Fund. The bank , according to him, disbursed between 2014 when the Fund was launched and the first quarter of 2015, a total of N182, 730, 000 to 553 beneficiaries, with 314 male beneficiaries receiving the sum of N91,510,000 and 239 females receiving the sum of N91,220,000.
Some of the bad experiences in the Fund’s disbursement, Udeani observed, were that “People also erroneously believed that the Fund was their national cake, as well as a campaign largesse by the then outgoing administration and not meant to be repaired, leading to the difficulty in recovery of the fund, as some beneficiaries are reluctant to repay, while some others are at large.”
He added: “It was not a wholesome bad experience for Umuchinemere Pro-credit Micro Finance Bank in the management of the Fund. The bank’s manager Credit explained that the Fund actually helped most of the beneficiaries to either establish or grow their businesses and that it was encouraging.
He said the government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had good intentions in providing the Fund to empower Nigerians and rid the country of poverty, but advised that in the future the disbursement of such intervention and special development funds should not be politicized.
According to him, the target groups would benefit and the fund not gone into wrong hands, which would in turn enhance repayment/recovery and revolving of the Fund.
Meanwhile, in the first half (January-June) of the year , the Umuchinemere Pro-credit Micro Finance Bank disbursed a total facility of N409, 205, 200 to a total of 1,774 beneficiaries, comparatively a shortfall from that of the same period in the immediate past year , where it disbursed a total facility of N467,156,359 to its customers numbering a total of 1,851, with 1,111 of them being males and received the sum of N187,633,400, while the rest, 740 were females but ironically received a greater amount of the disbursement, N279,522,959. In the present year, UPMFB gave the sum of N173,917,500 to 1,085 males, while like a trend, the females that were fewer in number however received the greater amount, N235,287,700.