MON, JUN 29 2020-theG&BJournal- IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, weekend announced a $50 million loan to Nigeria’s First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited to help it expand lending to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and sustain business activities disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The loan, made through IFC’s COVID-19 fast-track financing support package, ‘’reflects IFC’s commitment to Nigeria’s private sector following the severe challenges brought by the health and economic crisis,’’ IFC said in a statement. It said the funds will allow FCMB to support hundreds of businesses with trade financing and working capital loans.
FCMB’s Chief Executive, Adam Nuru, said, “IFC’s loan facility will allow us to keep credit flowing to SMEs as well as corporate companies across all sectors of Nigeria’s economy, including in the health, pharmaceutical, food and trading industries.”
IFC’s Country Manager for Nigeria, Eme Essien Lore, said, “Supporting financial institutions like FCMB is vital to keeping smaller businesses solvent, saving jobs, and limiting economic damage in the face of a challenge as formidable as COVID-19. Although Nigeria has a strong and dynamic private sector, it needs liquidity now to ensure it remains viable during and after COVID-19.”
IFC’s $8 billion global COVID-19 fast track facility was launched in March 2020 to support existing clients through direct lending to affected companies and to financial institutions so they can continue lending to their clients and help to preserve and create jobs.
With a network of 205 branches, FCMB serves more than 4.5 million customers in Nigeria. IFC’s portfolio in the country stands at $1.3 billion in sectors including manufacturing, financial services, infrastructure and technology.
Zenith Bank Plc also recently received a $100 million investment from the IFC to help the Bank increase support to clients and companies whose cash flows have been disrupted by challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The loan to Zenith Bank was IFC’s first investment in Africa through its COVID-19 fast-track financing support package.