Wednesday

FG orders reopening of NERFUND

The Federal Government on Tuesday gave an order for the immediate reopening of the National Economic Reconstruction Fund almost one week after it was shut.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, gave the directive in a statement issued by the Director of Information in the ministry, Mr. Salisu Dambata.
The minister directed all members of staff of the agency to return to their duty posts immediately as the crisis within the organisation had been resolved.

The statement read in part, “The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has directed all staff of the NERFUND to immediately return to their duty posts as the crisis within the organisation has been resolved.”

Before last week’s closure, the agency had been in crisis over allegations of mismanagement of funds running into about N700m.

The crisis led to a protest by the workers, which paralysed business activities for almost a week at the agency.

Following the protest, the Federal Government had through the Ministry of Finance set up a committee to investigate the allegations of corruption levelled against the interim management of the agency.

There had been fears that the shutdown may jeopardise the recovery of loans totalling about N7bn given out by the agency to individuals and business outfits.

NERFUND was established in 1989 to provide medium to long-term financing to viable Small and Medium-scale production enterprises to increase the quantity of goods and services available for local consumption and export; provide needed employment; expand the production base; and add value to the economy.

According to the ministry, the agency had extended credit facilities for 2,829 projects valued N9.5bn between 1989 and 1999.

Also on Tuesday, Adeosun said that the sum of N7.4bn had been disbursed as grants to 1,500 beneficiaries in the third edition of the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria programme.

Of this amount, the minister stated that the sum of N1.68bn was paid as grants to 638 YouWin awardees in the month of June alone.
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