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CBN committed N30bn to boost oil-palm production — Emefiele



The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has committed about N30 billion to enhance Oil-palm production in the country.

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this in a meeting with some state Governors in Abuja on Thursday.

Emefiele explained that the fund was disbursed through deposit money banks to six oil palm companies to support their expansion programmes.

He said that the companies were PZ Wimar, Biase oil company ltd, Eyop, Okomu Oil company, Presco oil company and SIAT ltd adding that application for Ada Palm Imo State, was being expected.

He disclosed that about 40 applications from investors across the country for the cultivation of 126,694 hectares were being considered.

Emefiele noted that the annual demand for palm oil in the country stood at 2.5 million metric tons of which only 1.25million metric tons was produced locally leaving a gap of 1.25million metric tones per annum.

“This gap is currently being met through imports.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria oil palm initiative is aimed at closing the gap and also positioning Nigeria to incrementally export oil palm products to neighboring African countries and beyond.

“Closing the identified gap would require bringing about 312,500 hectares under modern cultivation at an estimated yield of four metric tons per hectare.

“Our target is to ensure that a minimum of 1.4 million hectares of land is put under oil palm cultivation in three years.

“As a step in this direction, the bank had met with 14 State Governors who pledged to make available 100,000 hectares of land in each state.

“We currently have a total of 904,624 hectares which are available in the states for allocation and investors have been matched with the States of interest to process necessary documentation and titling requirement.

“The investors are to be funded from the bank’s intervention programme and some of the states are however slow in making the land available to these investors,” he said.

According to him, NIFOR being the flagship oil palm research institute in Nigeria, is being rejuvenated in collaboration with the leading oil palm major companies to meet the seedling needs of investors in the sub-sector.

Meanwhile, the governor further said to meet the tomato needs of the country and domesticate production, he had held held meetings with key Tomato Processing and Packaging Companies in June, July and August this year.

He said it was resolution of the apex bank to ensure that paste and puree smugglers were decisively dealt with using tools legally available to CBN in order to make local production competitive.

Emefiele said it was agreed that the bank should support their efforts in the acquisition of land in the states to establish tomato turn key projects in states with huge potential for production.

He disclosed that in Jigawa, Sonia Foods Ltd was allocated 2,380 hectares of land at Birniwa for its project.

He said the Bank was currently funding about 18,000 farmers under the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) to produce hybrid tomatoes for processing by Sonia foods Ltd in the State.

“Sonia Foods is setting up a 1,000 metric tons per day processing and packaging plant in the state. This project is expected to create 110,000 jobs.

“Dangote Tomato has a 1,200-tons-per-day tomato processing plant in Kadawa, Kano state.

“We are funding about 40,000 farmers to meet the tomato needs of the processing plant under the ABP. Inputs worth N4.18 billion were procured for the initiative.

“The tomato processing plant owned by Savanna Integrated Farms in Gombe is being reactivated and set to commence operation very soon.

“About 18,000 farmers were cleared to participate as out-growers under the ABP to supply raw materials to the factory.

Nigeria News Agency reports that Governors of Ekiti, Adamawa, Lagos, Ogun, Benue, Zamfara, Kebbi, Jigawa, Sokoto, Bauchi, Gombe, Katsina, Anambra, Imo, Edo, and Borno attended the meeting.


Edited by Donald Ugwu


LCCI, MAN praise CBN’s bailout funds for economic recovery 



Manufacturers have praised efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on planned disbursement of N93.2 billion out of N1 trillion intervention fund targeted at manufacturing and agribusiness sectors for economic recovery, post COVID-19.
Dr Muda Yusuf, Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Thursday, welcomed the development.
Yusuf commended the spirited efforts of the CBN in the promotion of development finance.
He, however, stated that many businesses had reported cases of inability to access the loan facilities to the chamber.
He implored CBN to undertake periodic impact assessment of the fund and publish the status of implementation, disbursements, number of beneficiaries and general impact of the funds.
“Finance is critical to the strengthening of the real sector of the economy.
“Funding is necessary but not sufficient condition to transform manufacturing, agriculture and mining sectors.
“We need more active interventions from regulatory agencies, the Nigerian Customs Service, better power delivery from the electricity sector, better transport logistics, seamless cargo clearing processes and an investment friendly bureaucracy.
“These complementary actions are desirable and important to achieve the desired outcomes of a truly diversified economy.
“We also implore the commercial banks to take a cue from the CBN in the promotion of economic development goals,” he said.
Also, Mr Ambrose Oruche, Director-General Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) stated that the plan was a prerequisite for, and very critical to, economic growth and recovery post COVID-19.
Oruche reiterated that the manufacturing and agriculture sectors being large drivers of employment, industrialisation and economic growth, needed adequate monetary policy intervention.
“The disbursement is in line with Federal Government’s agenda to keep exploring options with the private sector to fund investments in infrastructure.
“This is expected to aid employment generation, support production and boost output growth and so is a very welcome development,” he said.
Mr Godwin Emefiele, Governor of CBN at the CBN Monetary Policy Committee Meeting last week, disclosed that N93.2 billion out of the N1 trillion would be disbursed as intervention.
The Apex bank boss the areas for intervention as agriculture and manufacturing firms, under the real sector support fund, to boost local manufacturing and production across critical sectors.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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CBN adjusts timelines for reversals of complaints on electronic channels



The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has adjusted timelines for reversals or resolution of refund complaints on electronic channels with effect from June 8.

The CBN Director, Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okorafor, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Sunday.

Okorafor explained that the move was aimed at further enhancing service quality, particularly quick refunds when customers experience failed transactions, dispense error or dispute.

He said the adjustment on failed “On Us Automated Teller Machine (ATM) transactions,” when customers used their cards on their bank ATMs, would now be instantly reversed from the current timelines of three days.

He added that where instant reversal failed due to any technical issue or system glitch, the timeline for manual reversal should not exceed 24 hours.

The director further stated that on refund for failed “Not on us ATM transaction”, where customers used their cards on other bank’s ATMs, should not exceed 48 hours from the current three to five days.

He said resolution of disputed and failed POS or Web transactions should be concluded within 72 hours from the current five days.

According to him, all banks are directed to resolve backlog of ATM, POS and web customer refunds within two weeks.

Meanwhile, Okorafor noted that the key service providers in Nigerian payment system had also committed to establish integrated dispute resolution platform for the industry and enhance their payment system infrastructure and processes to reduce incidences of transaction failure.

“Members of the public are therefore requested to refer to the updated guidelines for the operation of electronic payment channnels on the bank’s website for further details”.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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MPR reduction: NECA commends CBN



The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has commended the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for reducing the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) from 13.5 per cent to 12.5 per cent.

Its Director-General, Mr Timothy Olawale, gave the commendation on Friday in Lagos.

Olawale said that the development signalled a pro-growth response.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that MPC had on May 28 reduced its benchmark interest rate, the MPR, to 12.5 per cent from 13.5 per cent.

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said the decision of the MPC was necessitated by the need to stimulate growth and recovery of the economy in the face of the impact of COVID-19 challenges.

The apex bank governor said the decision was made in a bid to stimulate the economy ahead the projected economic recession arising from the impact of coronavirus pandemic.

Olawale said that such a move could lead to reduction in the cost of credit, increase investment and impact positively on output growth to address the current global challenges.

“With the negative effects of COVID-19, the twin challenges of the global oil prices and over-exposure of our economy to external shocks, this decision is a welcomed development by the monetary authority to protect the economy.

“We applaud the current decision of the MPC, which aligned perfectly with the association’s earlier recommendation,” he said in a statement.

The director-general, however, called for synergy between the fiscal and monetary policies in order to move the economy forward.

He called for more robust and coordinated stimulus packages for the sectors that were worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Also, opening up the non-oil economy for more productivity, to reduce the shock expected from falling global oil prices, will be a welcome development in pulling the economy from nose-diving into recession.” Olawale said.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)


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Ex-CBN director lauds MPC over interest rate reduction



A financial expert, Dr Titus Okunrounmu, has commended the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for reducing the interest rate by one-percentage-point from 13.5 per cent.

Okunrounmu, a former Director, Budgetary Department at CBN, made the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ota, Ogun, on Friday.

According to him, the downward review of interest rate to 12.5 per cent by the Apex bank will encourage private investment to boost the nation’s economy.

He said that the apex bank was trying to induce those who are critically in need of loan facilities, to come and invest.

He said that the CBN decision to reduce the interest rate was an attempt to further encourage people to take credit and loans as the nation’s economic activities had slowed under the lockdown situation.

With COVID-19 pandemic associated with lockdown, no investor will be willing to invest money in the country until the environment is conducive for investment,’’ Okunrounmu said.

He noted that productivity and investment would be higher with lower interest rate rather than higher interest rate, thus making the economy to grow faster.

Okunrounmu, however, said that with more investment, industry and agricultural sectors among others would further ease while the unemployment rate will reduce.

NAN reports that Mr Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor, had on Thursday announced reduction in the interest rate from 13.5 per cent to 12.5 per cent.

Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) and Liquidity Rate were retained at 27.5 per cent and 30 per cent respectively after the apex bank’s MPC meeting in Abuja.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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CBN predicts negative economic growth in Q2



The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has predicted negative Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for the country in the second quarter (Q2) 2020 owing to COVID-19 pandemic that had affected the economy.

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, made the prediction while fielding questions from journalists after the Monetary Policy (MPC) meeting in Abuja on Thursday.

Emefiele explained that the reason was the fact that Nigerian economy, just like global economy, was shut down during the month of April, May substantially and to some extent also in June.

He said with this development, he was almost certain that growth in second quarter would be in negative.

He further stated that the unfortunate situation arising from COVID-19 pandemic had led to health and economic crisis of unprecedented proportion.

According to him, the situation has affected U.S, Europe and China economies as well as developing countries.

“Luckily and pleasantly surprised, Nigeria first quarter growth in 2020 came down from 2.5 per cent from fourth quarter 2019 to 1.87 per cent.

“Understandably by the virtue of the fact, we began to really lockdown our economy in the month of March because we were already seeing some interesting growth trajectory in the month of January and February following the recovery that we have made in 2019.

“So, we saw what I could call a somehow pleasant GDP of 1.87 per cent” he added.

The governor noted Nigeria was part of global economy and if the country was able to manage this impact as quickly as possible, and join others in getting out of the difficult situation, the better for the nation.

He, however, emphasised the need to work together towards achieving vibrant economy.

“As we begin to see the easing of the lockdown, business begin to come back alive again, we all need to move very aggressively and fast to see that corporate activities are pushed to extent where if we are lucky, third quarter growth may come out positive.

“If this is achieved, Nigeria will return to a situation where we can say we are not into recession”.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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CBN to empower 11,250 wet season farmers in Adamawa



Nigeria’s Apex Bank, under its Anchor Borrowers Programme, says it is set to empower no fewer than 11,250 farmers for the 2020 wet season farming in Adamawa.

Alhaji Ilyasu Mu’azu, the Chairman, Adamawa branch of Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), disclosed this during the flag off of the 2020 wet season Anchor Borrowers Programme on Thursday in Yola.

Mu’azu stated that the 2020 wet season Anchor Borrowers Programme in the state was in collaboration with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), MAAN and the Unity Bank.

In the 2020 Wet Season farming, 11,250 farmers will be empowered in Adamawa by the Central Bank of Nigeria Anchor Borrowers Programme in collaboration with Maize Association of Nigeria and Unity Bank.

In Adamawa state, in 2018 and 2019, the Anchor Borrowers Programme empowered 4,293 small scale farmers, through the provision of inputs, extension services and linkage with market outlets,” Mu’azu said.

He said that the farmers empowerment was a soft loan which would be repaid with farm produce.

The chairman observed that the rate of population growth, climate change, insurgency, farmers/herders conflict, flood effect and COVID-19 pandemic was alarming and threatening national food production in 2020.

Alhaji Adamu Yusuf, the CBN representative, said that the apex bank was committed to ensure effective national agricultural growths.

Yusuf called on the beneficiary farmers to utilise the inputs given to them judiciously, to improve their standard of living and national food production.

He noted that the inputs were given as soft loam to famers, urging them to repay the loan as at when due, to enable the programme capture additional farmers in the next farming season.

Speaking on behalf of the Adamawa Government, Mr Kabir Bello,  commended the Federal Government for the gesture.

Bello said the loan was convered by the Nigeria Agricultural Insurance to reduce negative and natural risks on the farmers.

According to him, the programme will go a long way in improving food production, adding that the state government will ensure farmers make effective use of the inputs.

Responding on behalf of the beneficiaries, Malam Usman Michika, State Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), also lauded the federal government for initiating the Anchor Borrowers Programme.

Michika however urged the CBN to extend the programme to cover more farmers in the state.

Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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COVID-19: CBN okays reliefs on loans in OFIs Sector, reduces interest rates from 9% to 5%



The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reduced interest rates on its facilities through participating Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) from nine to five per cent per annum for one year, effective from March 1, 2020.

The CBN made this known in a circular signed by the Director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Kevin Amugo on Wednesday.

The apex bank said the move was part of the bank’s continued effort to mitigate the impact of the corona virus (COVID-19) on households, businesses and regulated institutions.

It announced that CBN intervention facilities obtained through participating OFIs Microfinance Banks (MFBs), Primary Mortgage Banks, and Institutions, among others would be given a further one-year moratorium on all principal repayments, also effective March 1, 2020.

According to the circular, OFIs have equally been granted leave to consider temporary and time limited restructuring of the tenor and loan terms for households and businesses affected by COVID-19, subject to the recently issued guidelines for restructuring affected credit facilities in the OFI sub-sector.

Expatiating on the decision of the Bank, the Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr Isaac Okorafor, said the management approval for the restructuring of credit facilities in the OFI sub-sector was in line with the Bank’s desire to alleviate momentary strain on households, businesses and regulated institutions triggered by the lockdown due to COVID-19.

Okorafor explained that the CBN would also continue to monitor developments and implement appropriate measures to safeguard financial stability and support stakeholders impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, he disclosed that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the CBN for the month of May 2020, had been scheduled to hold on Thursday.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Public Holidays: CBN reschedules MPC meeting



The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has rescheduled its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting from Monday and Tuesday May 25 and 26 to Thursday, May 28.

The CBN Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr Isaac Okorafor, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.

Okorafor explained that the reschedule of the meeting was due to the declaration of May 25 and May 26 as public holidays by the Federal Government to commemorate the Eid-el Fitr.

He said for the avoidance of doubt, CBN had put necessary machinery in place for the meeting to now hold for only one day on account of the ongoing COVID-19 national lockdown.

He added that this step taken was also to align this meeting with extant rules of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and advisories from other relevant agencies.

The director, however, regretted all inconveniences these changes would have caused stakeholders and general public.

Edited Wale Ojetimi

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COVID-19: CBN, NNPC move to save evacuees in Lagos, Abuja



The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Monday agreed to fund the feeding and accommodation of evacuees in Lagos and Abuja.

The minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, disclosed this at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 daily news conference in Abuja.

Onyeama said the fund to cover the cost of evacuees’ feeding and accommodation was over N1 billion and since funding was not available, it had to pass the cost onto the evacuees.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that some evacuees had protested the condition they were being subjected to at isolation centres, citing poor feeding and other ill treatments.

Onyeama stressed that several attempts made to proffer solution to the imbroglio failed until the Minister of Environment, Malam Mahmood Muhammed, came to the rescue.

The minister said that the amount involved was over N1 billion and the duo of CBN and NNPC promised to rescue the situation.

Onyeama said: “Today, the GMD of NNPC said he met with the CBN Governor and they both promised to fund the feeding of evacuees.

“I thank the Minister of Environment for the suggestion and the solidarity who sold the idea to me to approach CBN and NNPC to support Nigerians in desperate need.”


Edited By: Olawunmi Ashafa/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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