…To offer accrued CRR funds to banks soon
By Blaise Udunze
THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Thursday, disclosed it has disbursed a total of N16.4billion to 78,000 farmers since the maiden launch of the Anchor Borrowers’ scheme in Kebbi State.
Rising from the 326th Bankers’ Committee meeting comprising chief executives of banks and the CBN in Lagos yesterday, the apex bank said that N210,000 was given to each of the farmers as part of funds to acquire an hectare of land.
The Director, Banking and Supervision, Tokunbo Martins, who disclosed this to finance correspondents in Lagos, said the feat would be replicated in Ebonyi and Anambra states in the next pilot scheme.
She, however, stated that the Committee had resolved to support the anti-corruption effort of the government and the other reforms aimed at stabilising the economy.
The Director said that access to financial services has been made easier and cheaper with the licensing and approval of the super-agents that distribute banking services at less cost, with targets set on all nooks and crannies in communities across the country.
She also allayed fears over the non-performing loans in the banking system, stressing that banks have enough capital to absorb risks they are exposed to.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank, Segun Agbaje, hinted that the nation’s current challenges with foreign exchange calls for change in habit in allocation of the resource by investment in import substitution and local production.
He said that the fall in oil prices from $115 to $37 created a supply problem, which requires adjustment in demand and efficient allocation of the available scarce resources.
On his part, the Managing Director, Fidelity Bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo, assured that CBN was working on modalities for the disbursement of accrued funds from the reduced cash reserve requirement (CRR), which banks are eager to commence as soon as the directives are issued.
He stressed that the funds would remain on a single digit interest rate like other development funds of the institution, while reiterating that the funds would facilitate the needed loans for the real sector of the economy.
On the challenges experienced by manufacturers, the Acting Director of Communications of CBN, Isaac Okorafor, affirmed that there has been remarkable improvement in access to finance.
He, however, affirmed that Nigerian banks are still strong and ready to carry out the role of intermediation.