The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday disclosed that it had set aside N220 billion to be disbursed as loans soon to cooperative organisations under the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF).

The apex bank’s Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr Isaac Okorafor, made the disclosure while addressing journalists during the bank’s programme on Promoting Financial Stability and Economic Development held in Gombe.

CBN’s Acting Director in charge of the Corporate Communications Department (CCD), Isaac Okorafor
CBN’s Acting Director in charge of the Corporate Communications Department (CCD), Isaac Okorafor

Okorafor reiterated that the loan was set specifically aside to encourage artisans to support their economic activities nationwide, noting that if artisans are empowered financially, the economy will grow faster because they will also employ others.

According to him, artisans have been discouraged to apply for the loan over the years because of their belief that they will not be able to access such loans in commercial banks, which require collateral to secure credit.

He explained: “This is the reason why we made the provision for this loan for them to access through their cooperative organisations. All they need to do is to open an account with a bank, operate it for some time and apply. The loan is without collateral and the interest is only nine per cent.”

Okorafor also charged the youth to embrace farming activities with a view to enabling them exhibit their productive potential and by so doing, qualify to access loans being provided by the apex bank at single digit interest rate to farmers and manufacturers.

In his paper, the CBN Assistant Director, Consumers Protection Department, Mr. Oludaramola Atanda, advised customers to know their rights so that they can be served better by their banks, adding that they should also notify the apex bank of any case of strange transactions concerning their accounts.

This is even as he cautioned bank customers against providing information about their ATM pin and BVN numbers to others in view of the associated losses of doing so.