Kwara SME operators lament inaccessibility of CBN loan

Four years after the establishment of the N220bn Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund by the Central Bank of Nigeria, business owners in Ilorin, Kwara State have lamented inability to access the fund.
The entrepreneurs who spoke to Pilot Business decried the stringent condition of accessing the apex bank loan for business expansion.
An industrialist and Chief Executive Officer of Chieftain Builders Nigeria Limited, Prince Chinedu Felix Ibeh explained that there are bottlenecks militating against accessibility of the fund.
He said, “I have applied for the loans with CBN but the conditions are stringent and the commercial banks would want to know how soon you can pay back.
“If you tell them that you want to borrow the CBN loan, the banks will tell you that they don’t have the CBN loan to give, that what they have is shareholders’ money, which they cannot lend at nine per cent,” he explained.
Ibeh however called on government to address the bottlenecks in accessing SMEs loans in the country.
He added that government should ensure more money in circulation for the economy to thrive, saying that will further expand entrepreneurial base.
While noting that Kwara has conducive economic climate, the CEO called for reduction in multiple taxation, stating that it is stifling enterprises.
A small-scale industrialist, Chief Ajisafe Jimoh, said efforts to access the loan for the expansion of his furniture business has proved futile.
“According to him the banks keep asking for landed property. It is hard for small manufacturers to come up with some of their requirements,” he lamented.
Jimoh added that some of the banks do not give long-term loans to industrialists rather advance such fund to importers and traders who could pay back within a short period of time.
He said, “We tell them that the short-term loan they give to importers cannot work for industrialists. Some of them even give the loan to operators of fast food restaurants, anybody who will pay back immediately.”
Also, Mr. Timothy Oguwande, the producer of Fountain Table Water claimed that the fund had been exhausted.
“When I approached some of the banks to make enquiries about the percentage of the fund that was reserved for micro businesses, I was reliably informed that the fund had been disbursed and was no longer available.
“We do not know who has been accessing the funds. Big manufacturers must have been accessing the fund because they have landed property, which they use as collateral,” he said.

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