Manufacturing companies have said they cannot access loans at the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) five per cent lending rate under its intervention scheme for manufacturing and other critical sectors.
According to them, the loans have structural framework problems and are rarely accessed in banks at five per cent. They added that banks were more open to giving manufacturers loans at their official market rates.
The Chairman of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria’s Electrical/Electronic sectoral group, Mrs Ijeoma Oduonye, said efforts made by her firm towards accessing the intervention funds through one of its designated commercial banks had proved abortive.
She said, “Before now, we tried to work through one of the banks, but it didn’t materialise; now we are talking with another bank. It is a sector intervention fund that was going for nine per cent before but now they have brought it to five per cent. But we as a company have not accessed it because the commercial banks we wanted to process it in could not process it.
“I do not understand the details from their end. I don’t know the regulation between the bank and the CBN. But the bank told my firm they won’t be able to process it. Ordinarily, commercial banks would prefer you use their funds, it is at a higher interest rate.”
Also, according to the Sectoral Chairman of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria’s Gas users and the Executive Director of Haffar Industries, Michael Ola-Adebayo, the structural framework of the CBN intervention leading has complexities that limit manufacturers from accessing them through the designated commercial banks.
He said, “We have not been getting the loans. Has any manufacturer been borrowing this money? The commercial banks have not provided the facility to borrow money at five per cent or even 10 per cent.
The CBN agreed to leave interest rates at five per cent per annum for critical sectors and manufacturing industries until March 2023. This decision followed the resolution of the Monetary Policy Committee to increase the benchmark interest rate to 13 per cent from 11.5 per cent.
When contacted, the Director of Corporate Communications, CBN, Mr Osita Nwanisobi, disagreed with the manufacturers’ position. According to him, more than N1tn has been disbursed for the manufacturing sector and others under the intervention scheme.
He said, “I don’t know who the manufacturers are because if we have a fund, and the payout today is over N1tn, is it not manufacturers that collected this money?
“If over N1tn has been disbursed, are they ghosts? It couldn’t have been a ghost. Under the Differentiated Cash Reserve Requirement, over N1tn has been given out. The one for manufacturers, we call it the DCCR, and it is also at five per cent.”
Nwanisobi added that the manufacturing firms that might have been unable to obtain funds through the scheme could not pitch convincing proposals on the projects for which the funds would be used.
He stated, “The banks would have to do due diligence on those projects. Somebody else has to carry that credit risk.”