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Govt to close NERFUND over N17.5b loans





The Federal Government plans to shut down the National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFUND) over non-performing loans of over N17.5 billion.

Pursuant to this, a committee has been formed to ensure the smooth liquidation of the company by the end of this month.

The agency said a source in the ministry of finance disclosed this.

The committee is expected to come up with recommendations concerning the welfare of the NERFUND workers and also what to do with the office equipment.

The committee is also expected to recommend an agency that would handle the numerous pending court cases initiated by NERFUND to recover billions of naira in bad loans.

About 1,143 projects in the small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector were reportedly financed with the NERFUND loans between 2010 and 2013.

A source said NERFUND currently has problems recovering the loans, adding that out of N17.5billion, the sum of N14.2billion representing 80 per cent was borrowed by a few people.

He said the ratio of non-performing loans was high because many of the loans were not collateralised.

NAN reports that workers of NERFUND have been officially informed about the development.

“We have been given the choice to either resign or be sacked. The managing director told us the management is working with the permanent secretary of the federal ministry of finance.

“They have promised that at the end of the day, we will not be jobless. They will place us somewhere else, so we are expectant,” a worker said.

NERFUND was established by Decree  2 of 1989 to act as a catalyst towards the stimulation of the rapid rise of real production enterprises in the country, with a seed capital of N300 million.

In 2002, the federal government merged Nigeria Industrial Development Bank (NIDB) and Nigeria Bank of Commerce and Industry (NBCI) to form Bank of Industry (BOI).

The federal government excluded NERFUND from the fusion of all development finance institutions (DFIs).

However, the agency’s capital had grown into billions of naira, but due to poor management the organisation had been in comatose since late 2013, losing its capacity to carry out its mandate.

In June 2016 the staff of NERFUND took to the streets to protest the mismanagement of the agency funds.

The Federal Government through Kemi Adeosun, the minister of finance, intervened by first shutting down the agency following failure to reconcile the differences between the executive management and the entire staff.

Two weeks after the shuown, Adeosun instructed staff to return to work and later appointed Ezekiel Oseni as managing director.


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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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