The Central Bank of Nigeria, through its agency, NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, is demanding a N10,000 fee from small business owners impacted by COVID-19 as a prerequisite for accessing intervention loans.

The CBN had announced in March that it would give a N50bn Targeted Credit Facility to households and small businesses affected by Coronavirus.

Those eligible, according to the apex bank, must prove that their livelihood and business operations have been adversely affected by the spread of the virus.

Businesses eligible for the scheme are agricultural value chain activities, hospitality, health (pharmaceuticals and medical supplies), airline service providers, manufacturing and value addition, and trading.

The maximum amount to be received depending on proof of cash flow of investment size is N25m while households can access N3m with an interest rate of five per cent per annum for a maximum period of one year.

However, the designated administrator for the facility, NISRAL Microfinance Bank, has insisted that in order to process loan applications of struggling small businesses, applicants have to pay N10,000.

NISRAL in email to applicants insisted that payment of the compulsory fee for a "business plan link" was the only way it would review applications of businesses in dire need of support.

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