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How goverment plans to ease hardship, by CBN

By Lawrence Njoku Southeast Bureau Chief
12 September 2016   |   4:38 am
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday unfolded policies to reduce hardship of Nigerians and the current economic recession.
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele

• Don calls for implementation of Vision 2020 report

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday unfolded policies to reduce hardship of Nigerians and the current economic recession.

The apex bank assured that government and the apex bank were aware of the prevailing tough economic climate, assuring that the situation would soon be overcome.

CBN’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okoroafor said at a fair organised for small and medium scale enterprises, artisan, farmers, banks, hairdressers, barbers, shoemakers and other business groups in Enugu, that N220 billion funds made available for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) could be easily accessed.

Okoroafor said 60 per cent of the funds were meant for women and women-owned enterprises.

He revealed that some states had already accessed the funds to the tune of N2 billion.

According to him, the CBN also has the Commercial Agric Credit Scheme (CACS) for larger commercial farmers.

Also, Okoroafor explained, “If you are a serving corps member and you want to get into business, you can get as much as N3 million to start as an entrepreneur. What happens is that you are not required to provide any collateral because we discovered that collateral is the problem. Your degree or HND certificate will serve, as your collateral because we know it is an asset in which you have made investment. So, just surrender it, and that is all.”

On other policies to help stabilise the economy, Okoroafor said: “Look at rice for instance, 28 out of 36 states can produce rice, so, we have launched a programme called Anchor Borrowers Programme. It is not only on rice but also on tomatoes, palm produce and other farm produce.”

He maintained government couldn’t continue to allocate scarce foreign reserves on goods that we can produce locally. Some, which Nigeria even has comparative advantage.

Okoroafor said this informed the decision of government to ban 41 items, which Nigerians should stop importing. This was borne out of a genuine desire to place the economy on the path of recovery.

Also, professor of economics, Prof. Ukwu I. Ukwu, has said if successive administrations had implemented the report of the Vision 2020 committee, it would have put the country in a better shape.

In an interview with The Guardian, Ukwu advised the President Buhari administration to go back to the Vision 2020 report, stressing that it had answers to most economic challenges facing the country.

Ukwu said “The governance section of about 22 groups, which I coordinated as part of the Vision 2020 was most fascinating because it covered the entire spectrum of the country, because there is a linkage between governance and economy.”