N500 billion uneven disbursement fund: Senate threatens warrant of arrest on SMEDAN DG, others for ignoring invitation
The Director General of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEDAN) and other head of agencies being probed for uneven disbursement of N500 billion who snubbed Senate Committee invitation risked warrant of arrest by the Senate Ad-hoc Committee.
Earlier, the Chairman of Committee on Uneven Disbursement of N500 billion, Senator Sani Musa has summoned all the affected agencies including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), but the SMEDAN DG, the CBN, BOI and others failed to appear on Wednesday. com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js">
The fund which was channeled through Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), in a motion which was sponsored by Senator Ali Ndume representing Borno South Senatorial District was unevenly distributed among the six geographical location of the country.
The warrant of.arrest threat was announced by the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Sani Musa stated while briefing journalists in Abuja.
The lawmaker vowed to arrest the Managing Director of the Bank of Industry, the Managing Director of Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), and the Director General of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), if they fail to appear before the Committee on the next adjourned date.
According to him, became imperative when the five agencies were conspicuously absent at the investigative hearing today on the alleged uneven disbursement of the N500 billion development fund without any former communication which is not acceptable.
Musa wondered if the hands of agencies running away from the Committee probe were clean, if their conducts are anything to go by.
He expressed the disappointment of the Committee that out of the eight relevant government agencies needed for the investigation, five were invited to appear before the committee at the Wednesday session, said, “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.
The assignment before the committee, he said, is a very important one, requiring cooperation and compliance from all those linked to issues at hand.
Managing Director of DBN and his counterpart from the Bank of Agriculture are here for required clarifications and explanations, making it mandatory for the CBN Governor, Managing Director of Bank Of Industry and Director General of NISRAL to appear before the Committee in subsequent sessions or risk being coerced through the issuance of a warrant of arrest.
He says, the 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 submissions on roles played in the alleged uneven disbursement of funds.
Responding, the Managing Director of DBN, Tony Okpanachi who denied deliberate lopsidedness in the disbursement of the fund, said that laid down procedure set by CBN were used for fund disbursement, adding, “Our lending has procedure and they are the same with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
According to him, 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, said, “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 says, the location of the registered MSMEs in Nigeria also explained the reason for the loan’s disbursement, adding that out of the registered MSMEs across Nigeria, Lagos alone has 25%, Southwest 23%, sought south 18%, Southeast 10%, North central 10%, Northwest 9%, FCT 4% and Northeast 2%.
The DBN boss who informed the committee that DBN has asked participating financial institutions to build the capacity of small-scale businesses, and train them on how to structure their businesses for them to be able to access the loans, said, “For DBN, it’s a continuous process to get more businesses on board.
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