The Senate on Wednesday set up an ad hoc committee to carry out an investigation into the alleged uneven disbursement of half a trillion-naira loan to the six geo-political zones by the Development Bank of Nigeria.
The planned probe by the Red Chamber followed resolutions adopted by it on a motion sponsored by Senator Ali Ndume (APC Borno South) and co-sponsored by Senator Ibrahim Bomai (APC Yobe South).
The Senate consequently set up a seven-man committee to probe the disbursement of the fund across the six geo-political zones and report back in two weeks.
The committee to be headed by Senator Sani Musa (APC Niger East), has Senators Ibrahim Danbaba (APC Sokoto South), Ayo Akinyelure (PDP Ondo Central), Mathew Urhoghide (PDP Edo South), Ali Ndume (APC Borno South), Lilian Ekwunife (PDP Anambra Central) and Sadiq Umar (APC Kwara North) as members.
Senator Ndume in his submissions before the Senate said, “The bank’s Annual Integrated Statutory Report 2021 obtained on 13th July 2022 from the organisation’s website; the bank was able to disburse a loan worth N483,000,000 only out of which only 11% went to the 19 states of Northern Nigeria while 47% went to Lagos State alone.
“The 11% of the loan that went to the North totals about N53,130,000,000 and the 47% that went to Lagos State alone totals N227,010,000,000 only.”
Ndume further expressed concern that “the loans were given to the six geo-political zones, where the data showed that the South West accessed the lion’s share with 57% of the total loan, estimated to be around N273,740,000,000 only.”
He was also worried that “the South-South accessed 17% which is roughly N81,940,000,000; the Federal Capital Territory, and the North Central accessed 11%, which was N53,020,000,000; South East accessed a paltry 9%, which was roughly N43,380,000,000; the North West, which has 5% accessed N24,100,000,000, while the North East accessed only 1%, the least share of the total loan at roughly N43,820,000,000 only.”
According to him, the DBN exists to alleviate financing constraints faced by the Micro, Small, and Medium Scale Enterprises in Nigeria by providing finance, partial credit guarantees, and technical assistance to eligible financial intermediaries on a market-conforming and fully financially sustainable.
He, however, noted that lack of awareness of the existence of the loan or even the DBN, religious beliefs that precluded Muslims from taking interest loans, and lack of formalisation of business, might have hampered the disbursement.