COVID19 Loan not ended, Over 7 Million Nigerians on queue for the loan - NMFB

The Managing Director, Nirsal Microfinance Bank, Abubakar Abdulahi Kure has disclosed that the COVID-19 Targeted Credit Facility Loan which has reduced the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Household and MSME's in Nigeria has not ended.

Kure responding to an interview with Abdulwahab Isa stated that over 7 Million Nigerians are on queue for the COVID-19 TCF Loan, explaining that the demand for the loan has however exceeded the available resources for the Loan Scheme. 

According to Kure, "Covid-19 loan is still ongoing. The demand is just greater than the supply. As I speak with you, almost seven million Nigerians are asking for a Covid loan. Since April of this year, the portal has been closed. 

"We closed it early and reopened it later to ensure a geographical distribution. People would complain if the demand for it outweighed the limited resources available. But what we aim to do is assure regional dispersal, so that there is equitable distribution across Nigeria's six geographical areas. We acknowledge that some areas have a higher population density than others. Northwest, for example, may be slightly higher than south-south.

"We are unable to provide for everyone due to a lack of resources. Even the CBN, which has been assisting with the social intervention fund, is becoming overwhelmed. Instead of adding new funds, we should focus on recovery and recycling what we already have. 

"Both in terms of empowering individuals and reducing poverty, the impact has been considerable. It benefits the economy by preserving foreign exchange and creating jobs. Some of the items we gave folks were utilized to make items that would have had to be imported. Some people export, which would help protect the naira's value. We would continue to do so, but those who do not should wait and hope for monies to become available.

Speaking on the COVID-19 Non-Interest Window, Kure disclosed that 10,000 beneficiaries have emerged in the Loan Scheme, adding that the number of beneficiaries are expected to grow as over 3 million Nigerians await the Scheme on the NMFB portal.

"The interest free loan is introduced to help take care of people who could not assess the conventional loans. From their own perception, they don’t want to go through conventional loans because of the interest bearing. 

"Non-interest banking was introduced in the interest of the people in the northwest and northeast. The concept is asset financing. We don’t give cash. It is not about interest. That is not to say that there is no cost of funds. There is a cost of funds but it is about asset financing. 

"We are not giving cash. Some people feel money is a commodity. Money is not a commodity. This is the concept of Islamic banking. 

"What they do is, they share profit or losses. They share risk that is inherent in that business. If the business makes a profit or loss, it is shared between the business owner and the bank. So, the concept is that instead of interest bearing, it is risk shearing. It can be loss or profit. 

"But people have misconceptions about the non interest bank. People think it is cash. We started it sometime around April and we have gotten some numbers. As I’m speaking to you, we have over 10,000 beneficiaries and we are going to cover around N12 billion and the numbers will continue to grow. We also have 3million Nigerian waiting on our portal for the non interest banking loan. 

"The idea is to allow those ordinary who don’t take the conventional banking loan to take that loan and that is not to say it’s restricted to only Muslims. Both muslins and Christians can access. They are free. 

"Our rule here is that if you had taken an agric low interest conventional COVID loan, you cannot take a free interest loan. The idea is to give a wider spread opportunity for others and some people will not be able to take the loan while one person will be there that has not taken. If you have taken Covid- 19 loan or the agric loan you are not qualified for our interest free microfinance loan," Kure explained.  

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