Senate Rejects Fresh Motion On Lopsided Distribution Of MSMEs’ N500b Loan

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The Senate yesterday rejected a fresh motion to debate the alleged lopsided distribution of the Development Bank of Nigeria‘s (DBN’s) N500 billion credit facility to Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs).

Chief Whip of the Senate, Mohammed Ali Ndume, had during the commencement of plenary, drew the attention of the Senate to a motion he sponsored on the same issue of alleged imbalance in the distribution of the money during the Ninth Senate.

He insisted that the investigation that was sequel to the motion was never concluded before the end of the tenure of the Ninth Senate.

He urged the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, to grant him leave to, again, move the motion for fresh consideration.

Before Akpabio could rule on the request, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC – Ogun West), disagreed with Ndume’s explanation that the last Senate had not concluded the matter.

He argued that from his discussion with the chairman of the Ad -Hoc committee set up to investigate the matter, a report was submitted and adopted by the Ninth Senate and the committee’s recommendations were forwarded to the Presidency for implementation.

Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, who chaired the Ad -Hoc Committee in the Ninth Senate corroborated Adeola’s submission.

He said though Ndume, who was also a member of the committee was not punctual at meetings, there is evidence that he signed the report, which was submitted by the committee and its recommendations adopted by the immediate past Senate.

Apparently, not convinced by Adeola’s and Musa’s submissions, Senator Aliu Ahmed Wadada (SDP – Nasarawa West), rose up, shouting: “Point of order! Point of order!!’

When he was recognised to speak by the Presiding Officer, Wadada said he is seriously opposed to the alleged lopsided distribution of the facility.

He added that his Senatorial District, state and the entire North was grossly marginalized in the entire exercise.

Wadada appeared angry when the Senate President moved to rule him out of order on the grounds of citing an improper order.

At the point of ruling on the matter, Ndume again rose to his feet and insisted that it is morally wrong that the whole North got only 11 per cent of the bank facility while Lagos State got 47 per cent of the loan.

He added that his state, Borno State, got only one per cent of the fund.

However, Akpabio interrupted him and insisted that the motion be stepped down for further consultation.

“Let me make it clear that the fact that the motion is stepped down does not mean it cannot be reintroduced,” Akpabio said.

The motion which had already been listed in the Senate’s Order Paper for debate was sponsored by Ndume and co-sponsored Senator Bomai Ibrahim Mohammed (APC- Yobe South), and Senator Ya’u Sahabi (APC, Zamfara North).

It was entitled: “Uneven disbursement of half a trillion Naira loan to the six geo-political zones by the Development Bank of Nigeria.”

According to the sponsors of the motion, the Developers Bank of Nigeria’s Annual Integrated Statutory Report 2021 obtained on 13 July, 2022, from the organization’s website showed that “the bank disbursed a loan worth N483billion out of which only 11 per cent went to the 19 states of Northern Nigeria, while 47 per cent went to Lagos State alone.

“The Senate should also be aware that the 11 per cent of the loan that went to the North totals about N53.130 billion while the 47 per cent that went to Lagos State alone amounted to N227.010billion.

“Observes that the loans were given out to the six geopolitical zones and the data showed that the South-West accessed the lion’s share 57 per cent of the total loan, which is estimated to be around N274.740 billion only.”

The motion reads further: “The South-South Zone accessed 17 per cent, which is roughly N81.940billion only; the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the North-Central Zone accessed 11per cent, which is N53.020 billion only, the South-East Zone accessed a paltry nine per cent which is roughly N43, 380 billion only while the North-West which has five per cent accessed N24.1billion only and the North-East accessed only one per cent, the least share of the total loan at roughly N4.82 billion only.”

“The Development Bank of Nigeria exists to alleviate financing constraints being faced by MSMEs in Nigeria through providing finance, partial credit guarantees, and technical assistance to eligible financial intermediaries on a market-conforming and fully financially sustainable basis.

“The top five sectors considered for the loan are oil and gas (42.0per cent), Manufacturing (16.0per cent) agriculture, forestry and fishery (7.2per cent), trade and commerce (6.3per cent), and transportation and storage (3.5per cent).”

It could be recalled that when the issue was first raised last year, the then minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, said the Federal Government would review the criteria currently being used by development banks in the country to disburse loans to MSMEs in order to ensure geographical spread.

She had stated this when she appeared before the Senate ad-hoc committee set up to investigate the alleged uneven disbursement of the N500 billion loan.

She however, had warned that such review would not be too flexible to ensure the sustainability of the development banks.


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