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How true is it that NIRSAL cannot trace its loan beneficiaries?

Claim: A Twitter user claims NIRSAL cannot trace those who took loans from it.

Sources from NIRSAL Microfinance Bank say this claim is false and did not emanate from them.

Full Text

Due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced a N50 billion Targeted Credit Facility as a stimulus package to support households, micro, small and medium enterprises. 

The CBN shared the stimulus package for whosoever showed interest and by implication applied at Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) MicroFinance Bank (MFB). Recently, NIRSAL called for the payment of the loan

Following this, a Twitter user Olayemi (@olayemi_123), on Saturday, February 5, 2022, attributed a claim to NIRSAL saying that it cannot trace those they gave loans to.

‘We cannot trace those we gave loans, the contacts they use are non-existent’ the statement was attributed to NIRSAL.

Screenshot of the Tweet by Olayemi

This claim is absurd and not the kind of statement expected of a reputable organization so we decided to verify. 

Verification

A keyword search on NIRSAL loans led to a number of news reports and Twitter posts.

In an interview with Vanguard in December, 2021, the Managing Director of the NIRSAL MFB, Abubakar Kure, said that ‘nobody can run away with the company’s money’. He stated that a ‘water-tight’ mechanism has been put in place to ensure full repayment of each loan.

Our search also led to a Twitter post by NIRSAL Plc stating nirsal.com does not give out loans but NIRSAL MFB does.

Screenshot of Twitter post by NIRSAL Plc

This Tweet, which was in reaction to several posts calling out NIRSAL Plc, is suggesting that NIRSAL Plc is different from NIRSAL MFB. So we looked into both names. Our findings show there are two different websites bearing the name NIRSAL. One is nirsal.com and the other nmfb.com.ng.

According to nirsal.com, NIRSAL Plc is a ‘US$500million Non-Bank Financial Institution wholly-owned by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) created to Redefine, Dimension, Measure, Re-Price and Share agribusiness-related credit risks in Nigeria’.

It was established in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and Nigerian Bankers’ Committee in 2013.

Screenshot of NIRSAL Plc website

NIRSAL MFB (nirsal.com.ng), on the other hand is ‘a leading Nigerian financial institution licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in Nigeria’.

The Company was incorporated as a Private Limited Company in 2019 and commenced operations following the grant of a license by the CBN to operate as a National Microfinance Bank.

The Bankers Committee owns 50%, NIRSAL 40% and NIPOST 10%.

Screenshot of NIRSAL MicroFinance Bank website. 

We also reached out to the NIRSAL MFB via phone calls and spoke to two customer representatives who noted that the viral claim is false. 

‘The information is incorrect because all our beneficiaries have a Bank Verification Number (BVN) and their BVN is what we use to know who is owing’, one of the customer representatives explained.

The customer representative noted that it is not possible that they won’t be able to trace those they gave loans to.

We have also reached out to NIRSAL Microfinance Bank via their social media pages but there is no reply to further verify this claim as at press time.

Conclusion

There is no official link to verify the originality of the claim attributed to NIRSAL on social media. Sources from NIRSAL MicroFinance Bank also said it did not emanate from them. Hence, the claim is false. 

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