Guardian – November 03, 2014
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has advised loan seekers under its N220 billion micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) credit to report anybody or financial institution demanding money for application form for the loan to the Department of Development Finance at the apex bank’s Corporate Headquarters in Abuja or any of its branches across the country or any law enforcement organization.
The action, according to a statement by the CBN Director of Corporate Communications, Mr. Ibrahim Muazu, had become necessary because while the application form for the loan remains free, it had come to the notice of the bank that some criminal elements have been going about defrauding unsuspected members of the public, fleecing them of their hard earned monies under the pretence that they would secure loans for them.
The statement reads in part: “It has come to the attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria that some unscrupulous persons are defrauding unsuspecting members of the public by selling application forms purportedly from the CBN for the purpose of accessing loans from the N220billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Development Fund provided by the bank.
“Reports reaching the bank indicate that these dishonest elements extort between N2,000 and N40,000 from their victims by asking them to pay the said sums for forms as a pre-condition and/or guarantee for securing loans from the Fund.
“The fraudsters are also reported to be asking would-be borrowers to contribute into a dedicated account certain sums as percentages of the loan they intend to access.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria wishes to inform the public that at no time did it authorise or appoint any agent to sell forms or collect any fee to access the Fund. For the avoidance of doubt, the only form available under the Fund is the form to be filled by Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) – microfinance banks, non-bank microfinance institutions, financial co-operatives, finance companies, commercial banks, Bank of Industry (BoI) and Bank of Agriculture – to enable them access the Fund and it is free.
“The public is therefore advised to beware of the activities of fraudsters and report anyone that approaches them with the fake forms to the law enforcement agencies or the Director, Development Finance Department, CBN or any CBN branch nearest to them.”
Last July, the apex bank announced the Fund and promised the commencement of its disbursement aimed at reducing poverty among the poorest of the poor across the federation as part of its financial inclusion strategy for rural communities in Nigeria.
Under the plan, each of the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is entitled to access as much as N2 billion. But the funds will not be disbursed to the states directly but to banks, which are expected to disburse them directly to the beneficiaries to be selected based on conditions, which have already been developed by the apex bank.
The micro credit is at single digit interest rate and the CBN has equally put in place a robust monitoring mechanism in place to ensure that the funds were not diverted by the banks but disbursed strictly to the targeted range of people at the lowest rung of the Nigerian social ladder at the recommended single digit interest of not more than nine per cent.
Source: The Guardian