- Debunks links to 2019 political activities
BY COBHAM NSA, ABUJA – The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has debunked speculations that recent drop in the level of Nigeria’s foreign reserves is linked to on-going buzzing political activities in the country.
According to the apex bank, current development has more to do with events on the global scene rather than so-called heated political activities on the domestic front.
CBN’s Director of Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okorafor, said on Wednesday that the cutback could be ascribed to “global squeeze on emerging markets, which was consequent upon increasing interest rates in the United States of America.”
He said at the current level of $44 billion, the nation’s foreign reserve can readily finance between 14 and 17 months imports, far above internationally acceptable level of three months’ importation.
Speaking at the on-going 2018 Abuja International Trade Fair, the CBN spokesman also said the area of Development Finance has seen huge supply of finance to various sectors of the economy towards promoting the growth of the economy in a holistic manner.
He noted that this arrangement has made development and welfare improvement to proceed at a faster rate in the economy.
“Similarly, the Nigerian Payments System has witnessed remarkable achievements in the recent past, with the introduction of a number of initiatives under the Payments System Vision 2020”, Okoroafor said.
The CBN spokesman also said over N260 billion has so far been committed to the development of Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, and agricultural business across Nigeria.
Equally, Okorafor explained that N220 billion has been committed to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund (MSMEDF); and N200 billion for SME Restructuring & Refinancing Facility (SMERRF); with another N200 billion provided for in the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS).
The apex bank image maker also stated that; “More than any other institution in this country, the CBN has demonstrated a passionate commitment to the support of SMEs in the agribusiness through our various development finance interventions and schemes.”
Okoroafor said the theme of the Trade Fair, “Enhancing SMEs in Agribusiness through Innovative Technology,” was apt as it aligned with CBN’s “strategic focus of empowering the SMEs and supporting Agribusiness as viable alternatives to the over-dependence on petro-dollars.”
According to Okoroafor, the CBN’s interventions have also been visible in different sectors of the economy such as Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF); Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF); N300 billion Power and Airline Intervention Fund (PAIF); SMEs Credit Guarantee Scheme (SMECGS); and Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).
Furthermore, Okoroafor listed other interventions as the Entrepreneurship Development Centres (EDCs); Paddy Aggregation Scheme (PAS); Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS); Nigeria Electricity Market Stabilization Facility (NEMSF); Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YEDP); Export Stimulation Facility (ESF); Agri-business/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme, (AGSMEIS); and the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).
On the ABP, Okoroafor stated that it has recorded an outstanding success in terms of reducing Nigeria’s food import bills and boosting the income levels as well as financial capacity of local farmers in the country.
Okoroafor said the overall impact of these interventions was the enhanced operational capacity of the SMEs that had translated into a reflation of the economy with attendant growth and development.
Assuring that the CBN, under Godwin Emefiele-led management, is committed to real sectors growth of the economy, Okoroafor said there would be no let off in delivering on the apex bank’s core mandate of ensuring monetary and price stability.
“The bank shall also continually roll out proactive and innovative policies which would ensure that all economic sub-sectors, especially the SMEs in Agribusiness, receive the desired support”, he said