The Senate ad hoc committee has began probing alleged uneven disbursement of loans to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) by the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), in the six geo-political zones of the country, promising to be fair in its assignment.
The Chairman of the Committee, Sani Musa, said this at the maiden meeting of the committee in Abuja. Musa said the purpose of the meeting was to map out strategies and modalities that would assist the committee to execute the onerous assignment.
He said that although the investigation to carry out a holistic investigation on the disbursement of loans by DBN since its inception seemed very daunting, with patriotism, cooperation and commitment, the Committee would succeed.
The Senate had constituted the ad-hoc committee, following a resolution at plenary on a motion, titled: “Uneven disbursement of half a trillion-naira loan to six geo-political regions by the DBN.”
Musa said the DBN was established to drive the effectiveness of MSMEs and the environment in which they operated, describing it as a good idea by the Federal Government and its development partners.
He disclosed that there were concerns over the disbursement methodology employed by the bank, saying that not all MSMEs in the country, especially in the North, knew about the bank. According to him, the Committee will effectively and thoroughly investigate the activities and operations of the DBN to ascertain if it conforms to its establishment act, followed due diligence in the execution of its mandate.
Musa said the Committee is not out to witch hunt individuals, saying it would evaluate the criteria that qualified MSMEs to access the bank loans and at what interest rate, and also review the total amount disbursed to beneficiary MSMEs from inception to date and total recovery if any.
Furthermore, he said the Committee will examine the sources of funding for DBN, including contributions from development partners.
He explained that the committee will interface with the Ministries of Finance, Budget and National Planning and Trade and Investment; the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN); Bank of Industry (BOI); and Bank of Agriculture (BOA).
Also contributing, Alli Ndume said the investigation is part of what was happening in the financial services 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 loans were not an allegation but a fact that has not been disputed by DBN.
He said facts indicated that there were some individuals who were interested in the loan, especially in the North, but could not have access to the facility.