The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, says it is still processing about 200 applications for the N300 Billion Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF) before disbursing the funds to successful beneficiaries.
Mr Ibrahim Mu’azu, the apex bank’s Director, Corporate Communications, made this known in a statement obtained by the Street Journal in Abuja on Wednesday morning.
According to the statement, the appraisal of the applications by Nigerian Small and Medium Enterprises for the N300 billion facility was still in progress in strict compliance with the eligible criteria for the fund.
It said recommendations would be made to management of the bank for approval and subsequent disbursement as soon as the appraisals were concluded.
“We are still appraising the over 200 applications received in respect of the N300 billion Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF).
“Applicants are also urged to exercise patience to enable the bank conclude the appraisals,” it said.
The policy objectives of the facility, it noted, was to provide long term and low interest financing intervention in support of the real sector of the Nigerian economy, so as to increase output, create jobs and conserve foreign exchange.
It would be recalled that CBN had in August 2014, unveiled a N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund, which was scripted to provide needed fund for small enterprises with bias for enterprises owned by women.
The real sector activities, under the latest initiative, are manufacturing, agricultural value chain and selected service sub-sectors.
The unveiling of the scheme, along with the guidelines, was aimed at improving access to finance by Nigerian SMEs to fast-track the development of the manufacturing, agricultural value chain and services sub-sectors of the Nigerian economy.
It was also targeted at increasing output, generate employment, diversify the revenue base, increase foreign exchange earnings and provide inputs for the industrial sector on a sustainable basis.
However, one year after the unveiling of the RSSF scheme, the funds have yet to be disbursed, thereby, fueling speculations that it had died on arrival.