The Central Bank of Nigeria has reactivated the portal for it's NIRSAL COVID-19 loan meant as a relieve for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). This stimulus package goes a long way to help businesses as well as homes which are affected by the Coronavirus pandemic to stay afloat during this extremely adverse economic situation.
Due to the country's response to Covid-19 in April 2020 by imposing a nationwide lockdown, the Nigerian economy witnessed a decline of 4.3% although growth returned in first quarter of 2021, with a 2.5% increase projected for 2022. Although being the biggest economy in Africa, the country is much dependent on oil sales, and the fall in its price due to a declining demand for it resulted in a plunge in the country's GDP.
This has been reflective in the economic welfare of the people. The poor became poorer while the economic fortunes of most ‘well-to-do’ individuals changed due to loss of job, business down swings, while comfortable companies saw their revenues take a dip. Startup firms were not spared by this encircling bad economy. These businesses had to either look for ways of funding, preferably through loans or risk getting into extinction. The federal government through the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing system for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) platform offers to support households and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) impacted by the pandemic with such loan packages.
These packages accessed directly under the guidelines of the Central Bank of Nigeria provides succour to homes while helping businesses who could prove they were negatively affected by the pandemic also are offered an opportunity of a loan package. It should be noted that the scheme encompasses agricultural value chain activities, hospitality (accommodation and food services), health (pharmaceuticals and medicals supplies), airline service providers, manufacturing/value addition, trading and any other income generating activities as specified by the CBN.
Interest rates, loan amount, and duration
Like every other loan schemes, CBN offers loans to customers at a defined interest rate, amount and duration. The Interest rate penciled by the apex bank for the scheme is 5% per year, although this rate was for loans doled out before 1st March 2021. The new obtainable rate is 9% per year for all category of loans.
For the NIRSAL relieve loan, households are able to access up to N3 million while SMEs can access a maximum of N25 million after some number of factors have been considered. The amount obtainable by firms is hitched on the activity, cashflow and industry/segment size of the beneficiary. A limit of a maximum of 25% of the average of the previous 3 years’ annual turnover of the enterprise or business is placed if the purpose of obtaining the loan is to be used as working capital. For enterprises or businesses who are yet to be up to 3 years in operation, 25% of the previous years’ turnover is needed in determining what they get.
The capital offered are for a maximum period of twelve months with no option of rollover. The loan repayment is based on the nature of the business, as outlined in the application page. This is to be in instalments.
Those eligible for the loan
Households who could tender a verifiable proof of being adversely afflicted by the impact of COVID-19 get to enjoy this credit.
Furthermore, Microenterprises and SMEs with verifiable evidence of business activities adversely affected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic could apply for the loan.
Collateral required for the loan
The following would be required of individuals or firms hoping to get a loan through this initiative.
- Moveable asset(s) duly registered on the National Collateral Registry (NCR);
- Simple deposit of title documents, in perfectible state;
- Irrevocable domiciliation of proceeds;
- Two (2) acceptable guarantors;
- Personal guarantee of the promoter of the business;
- Life insurance of the key-man, with NIRSAL Microfinance Bank noted as First Loss Payee;
- Comprehensive Insurance over the asset.
How To Apply For The Loan
The steps to apply for the CBN/NIRSAL relieve loan are lucid and clear-cut. Households, MSMEs and corporate entities who are eligible for the loan are to submit applications directly to NIRSAL Microfinance Bank. Needed within the application include a BVN Number, business registration (where applicable) and a business plan which has included a plan of the opportunity or adverse impact as a result of COVID-19.
Following that, NIRSAL Microfinance Bank will review and access the application before getting it forward to CBN if satisfied with the appraisal. A similar review of the application would be conducted by CBN before final approval for disbursement to NIRSAL Microfinance Bank and onward disbursement to the applicant.
The scheme is expected to be valid till 31 December 2024.
Other CBN loans
The Central bank serves as an avenue for the disbursement of loans to eligible individuals and businesses. The Apex bank is saddled with the duty of regulating microfinance credits in Nigeria for the federal government.
To learn more about loans from the federal government, access the CBN portal through https://www.cbn.gov.ng/