Senate summons Finance Minister, Emefiele over N500bn SME loan

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The Senate ad-hoc committee probing the disbursement of N500bn SME loan by the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) has summoned the Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed; the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele and others to explain the distribution criteria.

The Senate had set up a seven-man panel last week to investigate allegations of uneven disbursement of the N500bn loan to beneficiaries in the six geo-political zones by the DBN in 2021.

The panel was set up following a motion by Senator Ali Ndume, who noted that only 11 percent of the loan went to the 19 northern states totaling N53billion while Lagos alone got 47 percent, which amounts to N227billion.

Consequently, the ad-hoc committee, led by Senator Sani Musa, revealed on Tuesday that other officials that would face the panel include the chief executives of DBN, the Bank of Industry, the Bank of Agriculture and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria.

Musa stated “Available information at the disposal of this committee shows that there are worries on the disbursement methodology employed by the Development Bank of Nigeria as not every SMEs, particularly those in the north, know about the bank.”

“This clearly calls for thorough investigation as regards the criteria set for disbursement of the fund.”

“Critical review of the total amount disbursed to beneficiaries from inception to date and total recovery made, if any, will also be made.”

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