CBN MSMEF Fund For Persons With Disabilities: Our Story
THE TRUE STATE OF AFFAIRS WITH THE CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA MICRO, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISE (MSMEF) DEVELOPMENT FUND FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN NIGERIA.
(Text of Press Briefing) On behalf of the Joint National Association Of Persons With Disabilities In Nigeria, I welcome you to this Press Briefing,
- The CBN launched the MSME Development Fund on August 15, 2013 with a share capital of N220 billion.
- 2% of this Fund; amounting to N4.2 billion was set aside to be accessed by persons with disabilities (PWDs) who are economically active within the MSMEs sector at an interest rate of 9%.
- The failure of the Financial Inclusion Secretariat of the CBN to effectively mobilize PWDs to access this fund in 2014 lead to the engagement of, and partnership with the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), the umbrella body of and for PWDs in Nigeria, duly recognized by governments at national, state and local government levels; international development agencies, private sector and the media.
- In 2016, the CBN signed an MOU with JONAPWD. Under the MOU, JONAPWD was expected to take the following responsibilities:
- JONAPWD will conduct sensitization on the modalities for accessing the MSMEDF;
- Also, it will conduct capacity building for the prospective entrepreneurs; with emphasis on the fact that the fund is not a grant, but a loan to be repaid by her members;
- Pre-qualification of prospective entrepreneurs by JONAPWD will be based on business activity and viability and not disability.
- JONAPWD will forward the pre-qualified and verified entrepreneurs to CBN for funding;
- The JONAPWD State office will work with the CBN Development Finance Offices across their jurisdiction and engage the Financial Service Providers in the State for disbursement of funds to the entrepreneurs.
- JONAPWD had participated in a number of Planning Meetings with the Financial Inclusion Secretariat of the CBN officials including the last one held on October – 2016, in Kaduna state where an Implementation Work plan was agreed.
- However, to JONAPWD’s surprise, the Report of the October Meeting issued by Financial Inclusion Secretariat of the CBN omitted some of the agreed plans and activities and did NOT in so many ways reflect the outcome of the meeting.
- JONAPWD subsequently made several efforts (through written correspondences) to draw CBN’s attention to these omissions, but the Financial Inclusion Secretariat of the CBN out rightly ignored all JONAPWD’s correspondences.
- Rather than respond to JONAPWD’s observations, the Financial Inclusion Secretariat of the CBN instructed its state Development Finance Officers (DFOs) in all the 36 states and the FCT to ignore JONAPWD’s leadership and governance structures to proceed with engaging with JONAPWD state chapters and by extension, its members in total defiance of the terms in the MoUand of JONAPWD’s Constitution and regulations.
- This directive by the CBN to its state DFOs exposed our members to lots of vulnerabilities especially with regard to sensitive issues of financial engagement which most of our members have been hitherto virtually excluded from and with little or no knowledge of the process.
- The Financial Inclusion Secretariat of the CBN literarily abandoned the signed MoU with JONAPWD; neglecting the very essential process of sensitization and capacity-building to ensure our members can take full advantage of this opportunity.
- Most disheartening, is the recent attitude of “divide-and-rule” being adopted by the Financial Inclusion Secretariat of the CBN, to totally desecrate the very united and peaceful disability community in Nigeria by engaging the Senior Special Assistant to the Nigerian President on Disability, Dr. Samuel Ankeli with a view to assassinating the good character of JONAPWD in the Nigerian public domain by making spurious claims that JONAPWD had instead been hindering the progress of implementing the MSMEs Development for PWDs in Nigeria.
- JONAPWD therefore intends to set the records straight by refuting all claims made by the SSA to the Nigerian President on Disability Dr. Samuel Ankeli and the Financial Inclusion Secretariat of the CBN that:
- It had never for once made any ill-motivated demands of the Financial Inclusion Secretariat of the CBN nor any CBN official, and that if and where such has occurred, evidence be provided to substantiate this claim;
- No JONAPWD leader or member has done anything in whatsoever way to hinder the full and proper implementation of the MSMEs Development Fund for PWDs in Nigeria;
- JONAPWD had simply maintained its stands in line with its objectives, to ensure that PWDs are effectively involved in all processes of implementing the Fund including: negotiating loan terms; sensitizing its members and building their capacities; engaging with Micro-Finance Institutions most of whom lack capacity to engage with PWDs; monitoring the implementation process; and strengthening the leadership and institutions of JONAPWD to sustain gains and successes recorded.
In view of this situation, JONAPWD wishes to state unequivocally that:
- JONAPWD remain strongly committed to its resolution to ensure that PWDs are not shortchanged in any way whatsoever in their quest to gain financial inclusion in Nigeria;
- JONAPWD demands that due recognition and respect be assured its leadership and governance structures by the Financial Inclusion Secretariat of the CBN and the Senior Special Assistant to the Nigerian President on Disability and that both agencies of government do nothing to undermine the legitimate voice of PWDs and their constitutionally granted right to demand their free and unhindered inclusion and participation in the government of the Nigerian Federation;
- JONAPWD demand immediate retraction of all false claims and statements attributed to JONAPWD by the Financial Inclusion Secretariat of the CBN and the Senior Special Assistant to the Nigerian President on Disability Dr. Samuel Ankeli.
- JONAPWD wishes to make it clear that if Financial Inclusion Secretariat of the CBN fails to do the needful by ensuring that PWDs are no longer hindered in accessing the MSMEs Development Fund without any form of socio-economic barriers planted in their way, JONAPWD will not hesitate to call out its members in peaceful mass action against the CBN and the SSA on Disability.
We are proudly PWDs and full Nigerians entitled to whatever rights any citizens has, sincerely, we are tired of all forms discriminatorypractices and the total disrespect of our human rights and dignity especially as displayed by the CBN and we saying that this time we will change this ugly narrative, stand up for our rights and be treated on equal basis as other Nigerians.
Once again, we urge CBN to please stop this divide and rule tactic and respect the signed MoU, our members are the poorest of the poor in the society and we are in urgent need of any palliative measure that would alleviate our sufferings in line with SDG 1 which Nigeria has offered volunteering Review in July and in total compliance with article 3 of the UN CRPD which Nigeria has signed and ratify.
Finally we call out to all well-meaning Nigerians to join the community of PWDs in this noble cause, and urge CBN to respect our human rights and dignity and keep to the signed MoU
God bless JONAPWD
God bless community of Persons with Disabilities
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Ekaete Judith UmohHon. Adamu Shiabu Comr. Bala Bello
National President ActingSecretary, Asst Publicity,
JONAPWD JONAPWD JONAPWD
ADOPTED AND SIGNED BY following organizations
- Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights
- Public Interest Coalition
- Democracy and Development Vanguards
- Southeast Zero Corruption Coalition
- Publish What You Pay – Nigeria
- Citizens Accountability Assembly – Imo state