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Banks to disburse N26bn contribution to Agric SMEs

Emefiele Emefiele

The Bankers Committee says commercial banks will start the disbursement of the N26 billion equity contribution to Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) in agriculture by end of 2017 third quarter. The Managing Director of Unity Bank, Mrs Tomi Somefun, disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the Bankers’ Committee meeting on Thursday in Lagos. She said that the framework for the process of the fund had been developed and finalised, while the body of banks will be the shareholders. Somefun said that the CBN had also created a special export intervention to support it to generate more funds. She said that many of the SMEs would benefit from the fund once it started . The Unity Bank boss, however, said that the issues in the past where exporters failed to repatriate proceeds from their businesses would no longer be tolerated. She said that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had agreed that Bankers Committee should henceforth sanction defaulting exporters. Somefun also said that the sanctions would ensure blacklisting of defaulters such that banks would no longer do businesses with them. On further developments in the foreign exchange market, the Managing Director of the FBN Merchant Bank, Mr Kayode Akinkugbe, said it had recorded stability. Akinkugbe said the stability was seen in the foreign exchange and capital markets as well as moderation in the inflation rate. Akinkugbe said that the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) growth would be more deepened and robust following the positive developments. He said that the committee also commended the CBN’s efforts on stability and boosting liquidity in the foreign exchange market. Akinkugbe said the CBN was steady-fast in its approaches on ensuring stability and that brought the confidence in the market. He also said the CBN, not withstanding its successes, had reiterated its commitment in ensuring constant supply of foreign exchange. Also the Managing Director of the Union Bank, Mr Emeka Emuwa, said one of the other areas of discussion was process of collateral registry for SMEs. Emuwa said the collateral registry, which had started, would be an opportunity for small business operators to access funds from bank. According to him, the process facilitates easy lending to small businesses which have potential to contribute to the nation’s economic growth and development. He warned Nigerians to desist from investments that promised too good returns, saying such were likely to come up in the last quarter of the year. Emuwa cited the return of the Mavrodi Mundial Moneybox (MMM). The Director (Banking Supervision) in CBN), Mr Ahmed Abdullah, said there was the need to deepen the growth that the country recorded after existing from reccession. Abdullahi said that the committee recognised that the growth was still fragile and more efforts were needed to improve on it. The CBN director said that a number of projects had been discussed to ensure that the growth became more robust. (NAN)

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