The Nigerian Senate has launched an investigation into the alleged uneven disbursement of N483 billion in intervention loans by the Development Bank of Nigeria among the six geopolitical zones in the country. The Senate has set up a seven-man ad-hoc committee to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the matter and report back within four weeks.
Senator Ali Ndume raised the issue, expressing concern over the disparity in loan disbursement to Micro, Small, and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) by the Development Bank of Nigeria, NIRSAL, and related banks from 2015 to the present. The Senate noted the significant discrepancy in loan distribution, with only 11% going to the 19 states in Northern Nigeria and 47% allocated to Lagos State alone.
The breakdown of the loan disbursement revealed that the South West received 57% (N274.74 billion), South-South received 17% (N81.94 billion), North Central received 11% (N53.02 billion), South East received 9% (N43.38 billion), North West received 5% (N24.1 billion), and North East received 1% (N4.82 billion). The top sectors considered for the loans were oil and gas (42%), manufacturing (16%), agriculture, forestry, and fisheries (7.2%), trade and commerce (6.3%), and transportation and storage (3.5%).
The Development Bank of Nigeria is mandated to provide financial assistance, partial credit guarantees, and technical support to eligible financial intermediaries in order to address the financing constraints faced by MSMEs in Nigeria. The Senate’s investigation aims to ensure transparency and equity in loan disbursement and promote the development of all regions in the country.
Opinion: The Senate’s decision to investigate the alleged uneven disbursement of intervention loans is a commendable step towards promoting fairness and inclusivity in Nigeria’s economic development. It is crucial to address any disparities in loan allocation to ensure that all regions and sectors have equal access to financial support, which is essential for the growth and sustainability of MSMEs. The findings of the investigation should guide policy adjustments and measures to promote balanced economic development across the country.