By Anthony Areh
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) says it has reduced the interest rate for beneficiaries of loans under the Nigerian Content Intervention (NCI) Fund from eight to six per cent per annum.
The board says it has also extended the loans moratorium and tenure effective from April 1.
Mr Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary, NCDMB, said on Saturday in Lagos that the move was part of measures to spur business continuity, particularly in the oil and gas sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wabote explained that these palliatives seek to reinforce the various economic stimulus packages by the Federal Government to support businesses to overcome the difficulties created by the Coronavirus outbreak in Nigeria.
He reaffirmed the board’s commitment to continue to provide impetus to businesses in the oil and gas industry to surmount emerging operating difficulties in line with the Federal Government’s policy direction.
“Under this palliative regime, all running loans with outstanding tenure within three years will be extended by six months, while all running loan facilities with a tenure above three years will get extra 12 months tenure.
“Similarly, there will be moratorium extension on all running loan facilities under manufacturing, asset acquisition and contract finance with outstanding tenure not exceeding three years by six months and by 12 months for all applicable running loan facilities, effective April 1.
“The five loan products under the NCI Fund are manufacturing, asset acquisition, contract finance, loan refinancing and community contractor financing.
“However, there have been no disbursements yet under Community Contractor Financing to date,” Wabote said in a statement.
He also disclosed that about 91 per cent of the 200 million dollars NCI Fund had been disbursed to 26 beneficiaries and many of the borrowers had started repaying.
According to him, the current success rate of the Intervention Fund is above 95 per cent.
He said: “Since the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown in Nigeria, NCDMB has continued to roll out measures to ensure resilience and business continuity in the oil and gas industry.
“Just last week, the board offered business advisory to Project 100 companies and other oil and gas service companies in Nigeria on how to navigate through these precarious times and remain resilient.
“The board also directed NLNG to give priority to Project 100 companies with proven capacities in the Train 7 project.
“Much more than these, despite the lockdown, NCDMB also wrote to NLNG granting final clearance on Nigerian Content requirements and for the Train 7 contract to be signed and project to commence.”