Senate summons finance minister, Emefiele, others over N500bn SME loan

THE Senate ad hoc committee looking into the Development Bank of Nigeria’s (DBN) allocation of a N500 billion SME loan yesterday decided to summon the finance minister Zainab Ahmed, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, and others to testify on the distribution criteria.

The Senate had, last week, constituted a seven-man panel to investigate allegations of uneven disbursement of the N500bn loan to beneficiaries in the six geo-political zones by the DBN in 2021.

The panel was established in response to a motion made by Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, who pointed out that only 11% went to the 19 northern states, totaling N53 billion while Lagos alone received 47% of the loan, totaling N227 billion.

According to the ad hoc committee, which was presided over by Senator Sani Musa, some other officials to face the panel include: the chief executives of DBN, the Bank of Industry, the Bank of Agriculture, and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria.

Musa said, “Available information at the disposal of this committee shows that there are worries on the disbursement methodology employed by the Development Bank of Nigeria as not every SMEs, particularly those in the north, knows about the bank.

“This clearly calls for thorough investigation as regards the criteria set for disbursement of the fund.

“Critical review of the total amount disbursed to beneficiaries from inception to date and total recovery made, if any, will also be made.”

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