By Kingsley Adegboye
CRC Credit Bureau Limited hosted an online webinar themed ‘CBN Intervention Funds- Access, Impact and Prospects’ recently, the 4th in the ‘You and Credit’ webinar series organized as part of CRC’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiative to educate individuals and businesses on credit and finance.
In his address, the Managing Director/CEO, CRC Credit Bureau, Dr. ‘Tunde Popoola, explained the objective of the webinar which is to ‘increase the awareness of Nigerians on the various CBN intervention funds that are available to Nigerian businesses pre and during COVID-19 era.
He also stated in his presentation the purpose and the various concerns surrounding the availability of these funds. He highlighted the importance and the role of Credit Bureaus in facilitating access to finance and their contribution in increasing the availability and accessibility of consumer and MSME loans in Nigeria over the past 10 years.
This was reinforced in the speech made by the Keynote Speaker, Mr. Philp Yila Yusuf, Director Development Finance of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) who gave an introduction on the various intervention funds made available by the Central of Bank of Nigeria.
Thereafter, a presentation was made by Dr. Zephaniah Chinedu Ogbonnaya representing the team from the Anchor Borrowers Programme, Development Finance Department of the apex bank. He explained, the objectives of the various funds which include, encouraging exportation, expand output of agriculture and the manufacturing services sector while conserving foreign reserves.
He also introduced some of the various funds, and how they are accessed by businesses in different sectors of the Nigerian economy. He highlighted the impact made by these funds on Nigerian businesses and the Nigerian economy. He encouraged participants to visit the CBN website for more details on these funds, so they are armed with relevant information prior to approaching their commercial banks for access to government funding.
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In his remarks, Mr. Olusegun Alebiousu, Chief Risk Officer First Bank of Nigeria Limited emphasized the need for Nigerian consumers and Nigerian business owners to practice responsible borrowing. He highlighted the importance of meeting the requirements prior to accessing any form of finance, either through the government or any other financial institutions. He stressed the need for Nigerians not to view these government intervention funds as the ‘’National Cake’’ but obligations that must be met, which means paying back according to the agreements stipulated.
Other speakers at the event, include Mr. Simon Aranonu Executive Director Large Enterprises Bank of Industry and Dr. Muda Yusuf Director General Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Mr. Aranonu in his presentation listed the intervention funds available through the Bank of Industry, such as the Power and Airline Intervention Fund (PAIF). He also mentioned the objectives of each of these funds and the terms/conditions that are stipulated for each of them.
Dr. Yusuf provided the perspective of the business community highlighting the various challenges faced by business owners in accessing these funds which include, the costs of these funds, their short tenure and the difficulty of even accessing these funds at all especially for small businesses.
After the presentations, there was an interactive session moderated by Dr. ’Tunde Popoola, which enabled participants ask pertinent questions about the CBN intervention funds, the applicability of the funds to their businesses as well as the interest rates. Some of the questions included what was being done to decentralize the disbursement of these funds and why there seemed to be a focus on the agricultural and manufacturing sector. Questions around how the youth and start-ups can access the funds were also posed.
According to Popoola, ‘CRC Credit Bureau is very passionate about financial inclusion in Nigeria and we are using every means possible to educate individuals and businesses on how to access finance and keep their credit history positive. Many Nigerians are not aware of the financial implications of keeping a positive credit history and its implications on accessing finance, even if they are government funds. We will continue to lead the charge on financial education in the credit bureau industry”.
CRC Credit Bureau is the largest Credit Bureau in Nigeria and provides a nationwide repository on credit profiles of corporate entities as well as consumers, thus improving the ability of credit providers and borrowers to make informed lending and borrowing decisions.