How to Access Intervention Funds to Grow Your Businss

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Did you know that there are intervention funds set up by the government to help SME’s finance there businesses? Why am I discussing it in this post?

Available data shows that 8 out of 10 new small businesses do not survive beyond the first 18 months after they started.  That is a staggering 80% mortality rate.  Many reasons have been adduced for this parlous state of affairs.  However, research shows that money is a major challenge.  Many entrepreneurs are confronted with finance problems early in the life of their businesses.

But truly, getting money to finance your business need not be such a hassle. There are government agencies that have been set up to assist small business owners raise funds at single interest rate. 

Majority of these funds are extended to beneficiaries at maximum of 9% interest for a period of between 5 – 10 years.   And most importantly, intervention funds de-emphasize collateral requirements as many of them will accept third party guarantees and educational credentials of applicants for comfort.

Unfortunately majority of entrepreneurs are ignorant of the existence of these intervention funds.  The level of access is too low due toignorance, so much so that the Central Bank of Nigeria has resorted to appealing to SME’s to come forward to take advantage of the schemes.

Those who know that these intervention funds exist may not know how to go about it.  As a result, wealthy individuals and organized corporations whom the funds are not set up to serve often disguise as SME’s to access these funds.

This posts highlihts some of government intervention funds you can access cheaply to start or grow your small business. 

How to Access Government Intervention Funds to Grow Your Business

Here, we go:

#1  Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Deveaalopment Fund (MSMEDF)

Fund Size – N220 billion

The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) was established by the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2013 in fulfillment of the requirement of the regulatory framework for microfinance banks.  The Supervision and Regulatory Framework for Microfinance Bank stipulates that ‘a Microfinance Development Fund shall be set up, primarily to provide for the wholesale funding requirements of MFBs/MFIs.’

Thus, the MSMEDF was established primarily to channel low interest funds to the MSME subsector by empowering participating microfinance institutions with a pool of funds for on-lending to the economically active population of the society who are engaged in small businesses and lack the capacity to obtain funding from the regular banks  to either start or grow their enterprises. 

The fund has an initial seed capital of N220 billion, divided into 90% commercial component and 10% development component. In other words 90% of the fund is what is available for on-lending out of which 60 percent is earmarked to fund women entrepreneurs in order to help accelerate women access to financial services. 10% is earmarked for start-up initiatives and 2% goes to economically active persons with disabilities. Disbursement to qualifying beneficiaries is through Microfinance Banks, Deposit Money Banks, Non-Governmental Organizations, Financial Cooperatives and Development Finance Institutions who are provided the funds for on-lending to their customers who meet prescribed minimum lending criteria.

Who is Qualified to Access? 

Artisans, traders, market women, technicians, farmers, hairdressers, tailors, beauticians organized as micro enterprises, cooperative societies and medium scale businesses are prima facie qualified to access loans under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund at  a maximum of 9% per annum interest with a tenor of between one and up to five years.

 How Much Can You Access Under the Fund

 According to the guidelines, micro enterprises can access up to N500,000 per cycle, SMEs that are sponsored by Microfinance Banks and Finance Companies can access up to N5,000,000 while SMEs sponsored by Deposit Money Banks and Development Finance Institutions can access up to N50,000,000.

How Can You Access the Fund?

The first step to accessing loans under the MSMEDF is to have account relationships with a Participating Finance Institution (PFI) which include Microfinance Banks, Deposit Money Banks, Development Finance Institutions (such as Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture, etc) , Finance Companies or approved Finance Cooperatives. On indicating your interest in the MSMED Fund, your PFI shall provide you with the guidelines and necessary documentations.  The easiest way to access this fund is by joining a cooperative society because Microfinance Institutions usually prefer to deal with group than individual for risk management purposes.

 Any Collateral Required?

The Central Bank of Nigeria has placed the credit risk on the participating institutions who are required to do due diligence on the beneficiaries and ascertain their capacities to access loans under the fund.  The PFIs therefore are under obligation to ensure that monies disbursed are paid back.  However, for start-up funding under the MSMEDF, the CBN provides that collateral should be the educational certificates of the beneficiary.

#2  Real Sector Support Fund (RSSF)

Fund size:        N300 billion

The Real Sector Support Facility (RSFF) was launched in 2015 to help galvanize the development of the real sector, particularly the manufacturing and agricultural value chain and selected services.  It is intended to support SMEs and large enterprises for start-ups and expansion funding needs and qualifying enterprises can borrow a minimum of N500 million up to a maximum of N10 billion.  CBN intend to use this fund to increase output of the real sector, generate employment and diversify the revenue base of the Nigerian economy while assisting to increase foreign exchange earnings for the country.

 What are the criteria for accessing the loan?

On criteria for accessing the loan, the guidelines identified qualifying enterprises to be those that meet the following criteria:

Any entity falling within the definition of an SME and/or manufacturer;

An entity wholly-owned and managed by a Nigerian private limited company registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Act of 1990;

A legal business operated as a sole proprietorship; be a member of the relevant organized private sector associations such as MAN, NASME, NACCIMA, NASSI, and so on.

Administration of Loan

The loan is managed by the Development Finance Department of the Central bank of Nigeria but disbursement is through Deposit Money Banks. The guidelines states that the “loan amount is minimum of N500 million up to a maximum of N10 billion for a single obligor. Any amount above N10 billion requires the special approval of management.

The facility shall be administered at an all-in interest rate of 9% percent per annum, payable on quarterly basis. 3% of the interest goes to the CBN while 6% goes to the bank sponsoring the beneficiary.

Loans shall have a maximum tenor of 15 years, depending on the complexity of the project and shall terminate on 31st December 31, 2030. Each project tenor shall be determined in relation to its cash flow and life of the underlying collateral. Repayments under this facility shall be amortized.

You can access this fund if your business is an SME and meet the criteria highlighted above.  Simply have a meeting with your bank manager and indicate your interest.  Your bank will conduct the necessary KYC to ascertain your capacity in line with the guidelines and help you process your application with the CBN.

#3  Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS) Fund

This is one of the oldest government intervention funds with a focus on supporting businesses engaged in agriculture and agricultural production. It was set up in 1978 and still very actively managed by the Central Bank of Nigeria and disbursed through the commercial banks. 

As the name implies, the fund is set up to serve as guarantee cover on outstanding loans granted to farmers by commercial banks.  The guarantee is up to 75% net of collateral realizable value.

Who Can Access the Scheme?

The ACGS is targeted at individual farmers, cooperative societies and organized business organizations engaged in farming.

How Much Can You Access?

Qualified individual farmers can access as little as N20,000 as much N1 million while cooperative societies and other corporate entities can access a minimum of N10 million.  Maximum repayment period is two years and collateral will be required. Interest is on commercial rate.

#4  Agricultural Credit Support Scheme (ACSS) Fund

Fund Size – N50 billion

This is a federal government initiative, supported by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bankers Committee.  The scheme is designed to increase food production by providing farmers credits at single digit interest rates.  It is hoped that by encouraging farmers to increase their output the cost of food will reduce, export will be encouraged and foreign exchange earnings enhanced.  Ultimately, the revenue base of government will also rise and that the economy will be diversified.

Who Can Access It?

Individual farmers, micro, small, medium and large scale farmers, corporate organizations, NGOs and others engaged in crop cultivation and production, poultry, fishery, plantation, farm machinery and hire services.  Others include animal husbandry and agro-processing.

How to apply

To access loans under ACSS, applicants (practicing farmers and agro-allied entrepreneurs with means) are encouraged to approach their banks for loan through the respective state chapters of farmers associations and State Implementation Committees. However, large scale farmers are allowed under the scheme to apply directly to the banks in accordance.

Loans under the scheme can be accessed at 8% pa interest and the banks may require some collateral.  Small scale farmers interested in accessing the fund can do so by approaching a participating bank of their choice through their local chapters of farmers association.  Large scale farmers, however, can approach their bankers directly to access funds under the scheme.

#5  Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS)

 Fund size         – N200 billion

The Commercial Agriculture Credit Support Scheme is an initiative of the Federal Government, implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria and primarily focused on developing the nation’s agricultural sector across its value chain i.e production, processing, storage and marketing of agricultural products. 

The goal of the fund is to increase food production, reduce food inflation and to help the CBN achieve its price stability goals.

Who Can Access it?

Those eligible to access the fund are commercial scale farmers and enterprises engaged on agricultural production and its value chains.  State governments could borrow up to N1 billion under the scheme and on-lend to farmers cooperatives and other group engaged in agricultural production provided such activities meet the objectives of the Scheme.

 How to apply

Qualifying applicants are to apply through the commercial banks to whom money under the scheme are made available to finance commercial agricultural enterprises.  Loans are advanced at 9% pa interest rates.

#6  The Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) Scheme

Fund Size – N15.9 Billion

This is a N15.9 billion fund pooled from three sources: the Dangote Foundation, Bank of Industry and Matching Funds from about 15 states of the Federation.  It is primarily designed to assist the underserved and under-banked micro entrepreneurs have access to credit to grow their businesses, empower them as the active poor and in the process create wealth, galvanize rural economy and reduce poverty.

In line with the goal of the scheme of empowering micro entrepreneur, the BOP scheme uses qualified microfinance banks to on-lend to beneficiaries.

Who Can Access the BOP Scheme

Micro entrepreneurs engaged in value addition activities along the chain of agriculture, solid minerals and cottage industries.  Other qualifying business activities are services like laundry, restaurants, bakeries as well as artisans.

How Much Can You Access?

Qualifying applicants can access up to N250,000 at nor more than 9% pa interest with a tenor of about 36 months.

How to apply?

The fund is managed by the BOI but is primarily disbursed through Microfinance Banks who have been prequalified based on set criteria to on-lend the money to applicants. 

The first step interested applicants should take is to identify participating MFBs.  The MFB of your choice will guide you through the process if you are qualified to apply under the BOP Scheme.  Some of the participating MFBs include: Lapo MFB, Fortis MFB, BOI MFB and a host of others.

#7  Manufacturing Refinancing and Restructuring Fund (MRRF)

Fund Size:  N200 billion

As the name implies, this fund provides loans to manufacturing enterprises to help them refinance and/or restructure loans earlier granted them by regular commercial banks. It is refinancing facility which presupposes that the applicant is currently owing a commercial bank some amount of money  and will want to transfer the loan under the MRRF to enable him enjoy some relief in terms of low interest rate, longer period of repayment and liberal collateral arrangement.

Through the MRRF, the CBN intends to help accelerate the development of the manufacturing sector by improving access to credit to manufacturers, increase output, generate employment and diversify the revenue base of the country by encouraging export of indigenously manufactured products and enhancing the industrial sector on a sustainable basis.

Administration Arrangement

The MRRF is managed by the Bank of Industry which is responsible for the day to day administration of the loan.  Qualifying facilities are however disbursed through participating money deposit banks.

Who is qualified?

You must be engaged in manufacturing activities.  Trading businesses are excluded from the MRRF. The facility are extended as long term loans for the acquisition of plant and machinery or for the refinancing existing loans and the restructuring of ailing/moribund industries as well as for working capital needs.

How much Can You Access?

Applicants can access up to a maximum of N1 billion repayable over a maximum period of 15 years with a provision for rollover for a period not exceeding 3 years and at an interest rate of 7% per annum payable quarterly.  Beneficiaries of the fund may enjoy a moratorium in the schedule of repayment. 

How Can You Apply?

You apply through a participating bank who will submit an application in the prescribed format on your behalf.  The participating bank will give you details of the application process and access your requirements to ensure that it meets the criteria for the refinancing scheme.  The Bank of Industry (BOI) shall deal directly with the participating bank.  To help you access the facility however, your bank may require the following from you:

A formal application

Latest audited financial statement or management account

Document evidencing the existence of the loan obligation to a commercial bank in Nigeria

Six months audited bank statements

Business plan or feasibility study of the project for which the loan was initially obtained

Business incorporation documents

BOI shall forward successful application to the Central Bank of Nigeria for final approval.

#8  Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) Industry Revival Scheme

Fund Size:  N100 billion

Introduced in 2010 and currently managed by the Bank of Industry, this fund is intended to help revitalize the textile industry across its entire value chain including cotton, garment production.  Since its introduction, it is said that over 20 textile companies have accessed the loan and about N13 billion has so far been disbursed.  As a result some of the textile manufacturers that had earlier closed down due to harsh business environment have either resuscitated production or considering doing so.  However, few garment firms who mostly fall under small and medium enterprises are said to have accessed the loan.

Who Can Access the Fund

Any company engaged in cotton farming and processing, textile and garment production, including spinning and printing is eligible to access the fund.

How You Can Access the Fund

All you need is a good proposal or business plan; then you can apply directly to the Bank of Industry.


The fund is accessed at 6 per cent per annum interest year with a tenor of between five to seven years.

#9  National Automotive Council Fund

Fund size – N18 billion

Established in 2003 by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the National Automotive Council Fund is managed by the Bank of Industry and is aimed at developing the automotive industry.

The fund has three components, namely NAC Term loans and Working Capital Financing which is granted at 7.5 per cent and 10 per cent per annum on term loan and working capital respectively. The second component is the NAC Auto Technicians Support Scheme primarily set aside to build local capacity vehicle repair and maintenance.  Thus, this scheme is meant for artisans, craftsmen, technicians and mechanics.

Who Can Access the Fund?

Established and well structured assembly plants, auto garages and auto technicians. These will include vehicle assemblers, motorcycles assemblers and automobile parts manufacturers.

How to Access the Fund?

The auto technician’s component is disbursed in collaboration with Microfinance Banks who have been prequalified by the BOI to participate under the fund.  Therefore, your port of call to accessing the NAC Fund is to cultivate relationship with an MFB that has been prequalified to sponsor applicants under the scheme and they will guide you through the process. Application is through the National Automotive Council.


Monies are lent under the fund at 10% per annum for the purchase of plants and equipment and at 12% per annum for working capital.  Tenor is between 5 to 7 years.

#10  Rice Processing Special Intervention Fund

Fund Size – N10 billion

Following the global food crisis that erupted in 2008, the Federal Government under the administration of President Musa Yaradua established the N10 billion Rice Processing Special Intervention Fund. The purpose of the fund was to drive proper processing of rice in Nigeria because the government then realized that the issue in Nigeria was not adequate cultivation of rice but the processing, hence this fund.

The Fund is managed and administered by the Bank of Industry and it is targeted primarily at companies engaged in rice processing.  You will apply directly to the Bank of Industry and loans are given at 4% per annum interest with a tenor extending 5 to 7 years.


Final Words

What is critical in accessing most of these intervention funds is the character of the borrower; how organized or structured is the business, purpose the loan is required and the ability of the applicant to produce a sound business plan which showcases the applicant’s capacity to utilize the fund properly without any risk of diversion.

This is important to the agencies because the loan that they give you is meant to be repaid so that more people can also enjoy the benefit.




Buchi creates content and leads the Team at Kobotalk Management Services; a business development and investment consultancy firm. He provides strategic advisory to help SME's, small business owners and HNI's grow profitable business and make informed investing decisions.

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