BY EMEKA EJERE
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced that it has resolved to increase the Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) for households and Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) from N150 billion to N300 billion.
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who disclosed this at a seminar for finance editors and correspondents held virtually in Lagos and Abuja simultaneously at the weekend, said the bank had disbursed a total of N149.21bn to MSMEs and households across the country under the TCF.
Represented by the bank’s Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Edward Lametek, Emefiele said the CBN made moves to alleviate the plights of households and business owners and drive economic growth during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said, “We initially created a N150bn Targeted Credit Facility for affected households and small and medium enterprises through the NIRSAL Microfinance Bank. Already, N149.21bn has been disbursed to 316,869 beneficiaries.
“Given the resounding success of this programme and its positive impact on output growth, we have decided to double this fund to about N300bn, in order to accommodate many more beneficiaries and boost consumer expenditure which should positively stimulate the economy.”
Emefiele recalled that in line with the growing need to go digital, the application process was done online and required limited paperwork from prospective applicants.
Recall that in April 2020, the CBN introduced the Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) as a stimulus package to support households and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that are affected by the coronavirus pandemic
The TCF was designed to cushion the adverse effects of COVID-19 on households and MSMEs; support households and MSMEs whose economic activities have been significantly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and stimulate credit to MSMEs to expand their productive capacity through equipment upgrade and research and development.
The CBN Governor also noted that the apex bank had continued to improve its remittance infrastructure in order to provide Nigerians in the diaspora with cheaper, convenient and faster channels for remitting funds to beneficiaries in Nigeria.
“In a bid to reduce the cost of remitting funds to Nigeria, the CBN on March 8, 2021 introduced a refund of N5 for every $1 of fund remitted into the country through IMTOs (International Money Transfer Operators) licensed by the CBN,” he said.
“We believe this measure would help to support improved foreign exchange inflows and enable Nigerians in the diaspora to use more formal channels relative to informal channels.”