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Senate begins probe over alleged uneven disbursement of loans by DBN

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The Senate on Tuesday began an investigation over the alleged uneven disbursement of loans to MSMEs in the six geo-political regions by the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN).

The  Senate had constituted an ad-hoc committee, following a resolution at  plenary on Nov 16 on a motion titled “Uneven Disbursement of half a trillion naira loan to six geo-political regions by the DBN.”

The mandate of the committee headed by Sen.Sani Musa (APC-Niger) was to carry out a holistic investigation on the disbursement of loans by DBN since the inception of the bank.

Musa in his opening remarks at the maiden meeting of the committee said the purpose of the meeting was to map out strategies and modalities that would assist the committee to execute the onerous assignment.

He, however, said although the investigation seems very daunting, with patriotism, cooperation, and commitment, the committee would succeed.

He said the establishment of DBN was to drive the effectiveness of MSMEs and the environment they operate, adding that its establishment was a good idea by the Federal Government and its development partners.

He said the key objective of the DBN was to tackle constraints faced by MSMEs through the provision of finance and partial credit guarantees to eligible financial intermediaries on a market-conforming financial sustainable basis.

He, however, said that there are worries about the disbursement methodology employed by the bank and a lack of awareness of its operation, saying that not every MSME in the region, especially in the north knows about the bank.

According to him, the committee will effectively and thoroughly investigate the activities and operations of the DBN to ascertain if it conformed to its establishment act, and followed due diligence in the execution of its mandate.

Musa said the committee was not out to witch-hunt anyone, but would evaluate the criteria that qualify MSMEs to access the loan and at what interest rate.

He said the committee would also review the total amount disbursed to beneficiary MSMEs from inception to date and total recovery if any.

Musa also said the committee would examine the source of funding for DBN including contributions from development partners.

He said the committee would interface with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Ministry of Trade and Investment, Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), and Development Bank of Nigeria(DBN).

Others are the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Development Agency, Bank of Industry, and Bank of Agriculture.

Sen. Alli Ndume (APC– Boronu)said the investigation was part of what was happening in the financial sector that the government deliberately created to address poverty.

He said what happened in DBN was unfortunate saying that his submissions on the motion on uneven distribution of the MSMEs loan was not an allegation but a fact that has not been disputed by DBN.

Ndume said the committee was not out to witch-hunt anyone, but to find a solution and help DBN to archive its mandate.

Ndume urged the committee members to visit the website of DBN to study its operation since its inception.

He said facts indicated that there were some individuals who were interested in the loan, especially in the north, but could not access the loan.

He said he would be ready to provide the required information to the committee while also urging the committee to visit the website of DBN to examine Its operations on loan disbursement.

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