Banks begin five per cent contributions to SMEs
• CBN gives reasons for optimism on economy
The five per cent banks contributions from their profit after tax, tagged Agriculture/SMEs Fund (AGSMEs Fund) has taken off.
The banks, through the Bankers Committee, headed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Governor Godwin Emefiele, reached the deal at the end of a two-day yearly retreat in Lagos in December 2016.
The development will see to the full take off of financing of initiatives for small businesses at single digit and realisation of the seed fund estimated at above N30 billion for disbursement to successful applicants.
Speaking at the 32nd Bankers Committee meeting in Lagos yesterday, the CBN Director of Banking Supervision, Alhaji Ahmed Abdullahi, said banks are now determined to fulfill the pledge by contributing the agreed five per cent.
The move, which the committee had earlier said it is banking industry contributions, will have the pooled resources domiciled at the CBN, to ensure that it is readily available for disbursement.
The CBN also explained that its optimism on economic rebound sooner is based on positive indices, which remain steady overtime, with favourable outlook in the medium term.
The Acting Director of Corporate Communications, CBN, Isaac Okorafor yesterday listed the stability in the troubled oil-rich Niger Delta region as the reason for the new optimism, as it had boosted revenue earnings to the Federal Government.
Okorafor said CBN’s efforts in solving the foreign exchange crisis has also yielded results, as pass-through inflation and the country’s headline inflation have moderated two months consecutively.
According to the CBN’s spokesman, the price of oil has been stable, even though not as high as desired. The apex bank has supported the real sector with foreign exchange intervention, agricultural production has improved, as more farmers are getting loans and more are seeing agriculture as business.
The Managing Director of Rand Merchant Bank Nigeria, Michael Larbie, in his response said the banks are now more determined to support CBN’s initiatives in the foreign exchange market.
According to Larbie, all legitimate demands from customers will not be rejected anymore, as strong measures that ensure speculators do not take advantage of the situation have been put in place.
The Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, disclosed that the committee deliberated on some of the topical issues of electronic fraud, particularly on bank cards and agreed to set up a central repository- a database of fraud through the system, which would allow them to streamline activities of the perpetrators.