In a major and very proactive shift of policy, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has approved that Chambers of Commerce and other members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS) like Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterpreneurs (NASME), Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) and National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) can guarantee intervention loans applications of their members.

This was the outcome of the engagement of the representatives of the Organised Private Sector (OPS) coordinated by the President of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Prince Adetokunbo Kayode SAN and top officials of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in Abuja today.

The online meeting was to consider and review conditions for accessing Covid-19 credit facilities approved by government for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The apex bank agreed with the OPS that there was a need to ease and fast track access to loan by credible businesses and SMEs in Nigeria.

The CBN however reiterated that the credit facility will only be for credible projects and that beneficiaries or the companies along with their owners must not have outstanding bad or non-performing financial obligations.

The interest rate for this facility is from 5% to 9% over a three year period.

Speaking on the CBN decision, Prince Kayode commended the CBN Governor, Dr. Godwin Emefiele for being proactive and responsive to the current economic challenges as well as the yearnings of the OPS for collaboration with CBN.

Describing the development as “a landmark” in SME financing in Nigeria, Prince kayode stated that “the new stand by the CBN on SME financing is a commendable development. We welcome this supportive decision which will go a long way to ameliorate the dire circumstances of SMEs in Nigeria. This decision will revolutionise the development of the SME sector, expand local business activities and boost our GDP in an era of economic downturn and uncertainty. Nigeria is an SME nation so empowering businesses by easing stringent loan access procedures is a major achievement of this administration and a critical step towards amelioration of the damages the current coronavirus pandemic will impact on our economy.

“We are ready to guarantee our members applications, ensure that the loans are properly invested and repayments made as and when due”, he stated.

In respect of what the OPS is doing to also assist national economic revival, the Abuja Chamber President, explained that, “we have a lease finance scheme which will ensure that loans obtained by our members are properly invested and that ensure prompt repayment”.