N500b Development Fund: Senate to issue warrant of arrest on CBN Governor, BOI MD, others

Senate’s Ad Hoc Committee investigating uneven disbursement of N500billion development fund across the six geo – political zones  by Development Bank of Nigeria ( DBN) ,  on Wednesday  threatened Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria , Godwin Emefiele and heads of affected financial institutions with warrant of arrest for failing to honour its invitation .

Managing Director of Bank of Industry, Olukayode Pitan , the Managing Director of Nigeria incentive – Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending ( NIRSAL), Aliyu Abdulhamid and the Director General of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Olawale Fasanya were also involved with warrant of arrest to be issued by the panel for failing to appear.

At the Committee meeting, Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee, Senator Sani Musa who was irked over the absence of absence three agencies of the government.

“Out of these five , only two came while the remaining three which are the CBN, BOI and NIRSAL, were conspicuously absent without any letter from them explaining why. .

“Assignment before this committee is a  very important one , requiring cooperation and compliance from all those linked to issues at hand.

“MD of DBN and his counterpart from the Bank of Agriculture are here for required clarifications and explanations , making it mandatory for CBN Gov , MD of BOI and DG of NISRAL to appear unfailingly in subsequent sessions or risk being coerced through issuance of warrant of arrest”, he said .

He added that Ministers of Finance , Zainab Ahmed , Trade and Investment , Niyi Adebayo and Humanitarian Affairs , Sadiya Umar Farouq , will appear before the committee on Thursday this week for required submissions on roles played in the alleged uneven disbursement of funds .

 However, the Managing Director of DBN, Tony Okpanachi in his presentation before the Panel debunked deliberate lopsidedness in the disbursement of the fund.

He said laid down criteria set by the Central Bank  of Nigeria were used  for fund disbursement .

“Our lending has criteria and they are the same with those set by the Central Bank of Nigeria,” he said.

He explained that for a business to qualify for the DBN loan, it must have less than 250 employees and must not have done a turnover of more than N1.1 billion.

“We do a risk assessment of the participating financial institutions (PFIs) before they begin to lend to businesses. We don’t want to give out money and the money fritters away. So we track the end users of the loans yearly,” he said.

He added that  the location of the registered MSMEs in Nigeria also explained the reason for the loan’s disbursement.

Statistically, he explained to the  committee members that out of the  registered MSMEs across Nigeria, Lagos alone  has 25%, South West 23%, South South 18%, South East 10%, North Central 10%, North West 9%, FCT 4% and North East 2%.

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