The Nigerian Bar Association has declared that its new loan scheme is only available to members who have paid their Bar Practicing Fee.
Dr Rapulu Nduka, the NBA’s National Publicity Secretary, informed the News Agency of Nigeria that the yearly fee was due by March 31. After paying the fee, lawyers will have access to the loan for a three-year period.
Mr Olumide Akpata, the NBA’s president, confirmed the loan scheme in a statement made available to NAN. Akpata also announced that N1 billion will be made available for the “Establishment of the NBA Stabilization Fund and the Start of Access to Finance for Lawyers.”
He did warn, though, that loan defaulters would be judged to have engaged in professional misconduct. The launch of the funding system would allow lawyers to obtain a N2 million loan with a 9.5 percent annual interest rate.
Akpata said, “We have set up access to finance scheme for lawyers who may require loans at single-digit or less than market interest rates, for their working capital and operational needs.
“We have set up the NBA Stabilisation Fund. We already saved up and set aside the sum of N1billion for the purpose
“Now we are committed to having up to N1.5bILLION in aggregate as the minimum in the fund over the next few years.”
The payment of the Bar Practicing Fee is protected by NBA Rule 9 of professional behavior. It is a yearly fee that must be paid in order for legal practitioners to continue to practice in the country.
Every year, the Statutory Payments start in January and end in March. BPFs are submitted to the Supreme Court of Nigeria in amounts ranging from N10,000 for legal practitioners with 10-14 years post-call to N50,000 for senior advocates and honorable benchers, according to the NBA website.