By Providence Emmanuel
UMUCHINEMERE Pro- credit Micro Finance Bank (UPMFB) has disbursed a N409.2 million to 1,774 beneficiaries in the first half of the year. This represents 12 per cent decline when compared with N467.2 million in the same period in 2016 to a total of 1,851 customers.
The bank disclosed this in a statement made available to Vanguard, weekend, disclosing that it participated in the disbursement of the N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF). The statement signed by Head, Public/Media Relations, UPMFB, Sir Abuchi Anueyiagu, revealed that a total of N182, 730, 000 was disbursed to a total of 553 beneficiaries with 314 male beneficiaries receiving N91,510,000 and 239 females receiving N91,220,000 between 2014 when the fund was launched and the first quarter of 2015. Head of Credit, UPMFB, Mr. Charles Udeani, said that the Central Bank of Nigeria had good intentions in providing the fund to empower Nigerians and rid the country of poverty but advised that such fund should be well structured to ensure prompt repayment.
He said that despite the fund helping most beneficiaries to establish and grow their businesses, a lot people have erroneously believed that the fund was a national cake, as well as a campaign largesse by the then outgoing administration and not meant to be repaid, leading to the difficulty in recovery of the fund, as some beneficiaries are reluctant to repay. He pointed out that some functionaries who are not in business used their influence in accessing the fund and refused to repay since 2014 when the fund was introduced, resulting in large scale delinquency witnessed in the performance of the fund and impeding the achievement of the objectives for establishing the fund. Udeani added that so many people saw the fund as a largesse meant for political patronage with the 2015 general elections around the corner then and thereby rushed to access the fund but refused to repay claiming it was a political largesse, where others collected and later vanished from their former places of domicile till date.
“The delinquency in the performance of the fund adversely affected the realization of the poverty reduction objective and the revolving policy of the fund. This is injurious to the economic health and growth of the country because, the loan which had one year tenure was meant to encourage entrepreneurship and reduce poverty in the country,” he said.