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CBN’s monetary policy creates virile banking sector — Access Bank boss

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Access Bank Executive Director Victor Etuokwu says various monetary policies by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has created a virile banking sector, capable of safeguarding depositors’ funds.

Etuokwu said the monetary policies by the apex bank had also helped in sanitising the banking industry, restoring people’s confidence in the sector.

He spoke at the inauguration of a new Access Bank branch in Iree in Boripe Local government area of the state on Saturday.

“Banking is one profession that must be well regulated because people put their hard-earned money in it.

“I believe government and CBN has done well in that area because their concerns is all about safety of depositors’ money’’, Etuokwu said.

He added that the policy of Access Bank to spread branches in all the communities of Nigeria was rooted in the mindset that economy could not grow unless people were economically empowered.

Etuokwu noted that one of the ways in which local populace could be economically empowered was through bringing retail banking of that nature to their doorstep to stimulate access to credit facilities and business guidance.

He explained that in spite the inherent merit of internet banking, people still gave priority to face to face banking engagement.

He said: “We believe that internet banking is good, but branch network is also a good place for banking engagement because people still consider the need to engage in face to face transaction”.

Etuokwu said that Access Bank, in accordance with its branch network policy, would open another twelve branches within the South West zone in the next two weeks.

Earlier in his remarks, Gov. Gboyega Oyetola, said that his administration was committed to strengthen of the micro-economy through robust Small and Medium enterprises.

Represented by his Commissioner for Finance, Mr Bola Oyebamiji, Oyetola, said that one of the reasons his administration continued to work assiduously to create environment conducive for investors was to ban poverty among the populace.

The governor, however, said that the state was safe for commercial banks to do business, adding that the issue of internal security remained a cardinal consideration of policy formation and implementation in the state.

“One of the greatest economic measures to finance the economy and empower the people is through Small and Medium enterprises, which access bank is doing presently.

“What gives Osun a leverage on this is the utmost priority given to security for the purpose of entrenching factors for ease of doing business, in which security is integral’’, Oyetola said.

Edited by Kayode Olaitan

Economy

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

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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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Economy

CBN adjusts timelines for reversals of complaints on electronic channels

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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 www.cbn.gov.ng for further details”.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Economy

MPR reduction: NECA commends CBN

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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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Economy

Ex-CBN director lauds MPC over interest rate reduction

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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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Economy

CBN predicts negative economic growth in Q2

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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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Agriculture

CBN to empower 11,250 wet season farmers in Adamawa

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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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Economy

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

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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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Economy

Public Holidays: CBN reschedules MPC meeting

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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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Health

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

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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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