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OPS berates CBN over businesses’ poor access to N1tr intervention funds

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The Organised Private Sector of Nigeria (OPSN) has berated the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on bureaucratic bottlenecks hindering businesses from accessing the over N1 trillion COVID-19 intervention funds instituted by the apex body to stimulate and revamp the economy through structured refinancing and loans.

The OPS had alleged that credible information from many businesses across the country had shown very low access to various intervention funds by the apex bank.

Chairman of OPSN, Taiwo Adeniyi, alongside members of the body, who spoke at a press conference on the state of the economy, urged the apex bank to complement its efforts by synergising policies alongside fiscal authorities in bringing the needed growth and development into the economy.

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He urged the CBN to review its strategies and reduce the bureaucratic bottleneck currently associated with accessing the funds.

He expressed readiness of the private sector body to partner with the CBN to ensure that credible and genuine businesses actually benefit from the fund, noting that it would further facilitate regular impact assessment of the fund.

While acknowledging ongoing efforts by government at all levels to ensure sustenance and development of the economy, he said more needs to be done and urgently too to ensure the survival of the economy.

Noting that the Nigerian economy was challenged on many fronts, he stated that unless crucial economic reforms and political will were demonstrated, the teething problems might cripple the economy.

The OPSN suggested a mix of fiscal, monetary and trade policies with political will in delivering the necessary impetus to tackle economic challenges that would bring about the needed reforms.

Among some of the critical issues highlighted, the OPSN said the disruptions in the global economy as a result of COVID-19 pandemic notably in lower oil prices and perceived risk in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) among other risks, portend huge challenge in achieving the economic development proposed by the present administration, most especially in lifting about 100 million people out of poverty.

The OPSN urged for a focused and strategic approach, with regular engagement of the organised private sector to achieve urgent need for diversification of the economy revenue base from crude oil.

With the country’s unemployment and underemployment rates presently at 56.1 per cent, Adeniyi said it was not only worrisome but also frightening.

To tackle the high rate of unemployment to create more jobs for the teeming population, he suggested that facilitation of a hospitable environment for businesses to thrive and be sustainable.

He called for deliberate support for organised businesses through the provision of grants and infrastructure development.

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He called for the reform of the country’s regulatory environment to facilitate businesses rather than stifling them.

To remedy the country’s insecurity challenges, the OPSN recommended urgent review of the existing security framework to enhance effectiveness and responsiveness.

The OPSN canvassed that adequate funds should be allocated to national defense to reflect the importance of national security.

The group urged that more attention should be given to Public Private Partnership (PPP) as a way to address the huge infrastructure deficits.

By implementing the PPP initiative in provision of the country’s critical infrastructure, the OPSN added that decent and sustainable jobs would be provided and a desirable number of people would be lifted from the poverty rank even before the desired date of 2030.

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