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



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


MPC: Financial experts seek monetary, fiscal policies alignment 



cial experts have urged the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to collaborate with the Federal Government on policies that will impact positively on the economy.

The experts spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Lagos against the backdrop of the 275th MPC meeting slated for Sept. 21 and 22 in Abuja.

They said that monetary and fiscal policies must align to grow businesses and attract investments into the country.

Mazi Okechukwu Unegbu, a former President, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria called on MPC to engage fiscal authorities on Value Added Tax (VAT) reduction currently at 7.5 per cent.

Unegbu observed that VAT needed to be reviewed in line with economic realities caused by COVID-19 pandemic.

He noted that VAT increment was affecting both small and big businesses in the country.

“Increasing tax is not the best way to help this economy, because when the tax rate is high, employers will sack people from their jobs.

“When the tax is reduced, you will see increase in productivity, more tax returns and more employment.

“Central Bank of Nigeria should work with the fiscal section for their own policies to work because when CBN makes a policy that is contrary to the fiscal policy, it will not make any headway,” he said.

Unegbu said that challenges in the monetary system were huge and should be addressed beyond provision of palliatives for banks by CBN.

According to him, the increase in VAT which has affected all other taxes; also, CBN should consider helping the banks further as COVID-19 has further disrupted liquidity of banks across the system.

He said that the recent increase in electricity tariff when there was no stable power, should be addressed.

Adebayo Adeleke, former General-Secretary, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria said that the committee should find ways to ensure that the country did not plunder into recession.

Adeleke told NAN that CBN should lower interest rates on borrowing, which would encourage people to restart their businesses.

“The committee should be looking at ensuring the continuity of policies that will not drive the country into recession.

“What CBN has done so far is to try as much as they can to discourage savings by lowering interest rate.

“There are two legs to it, if you lower interest rate so that people do not bring their money and dump in the bank, is because you want more money in circulation in the economy.

“The next leg is that we lower interest so that we can inflate the economy. The economy has taken a downturn because of COVID-19; a lot of businesses have been affected.

“So if you are closing the gate to deposit or by discouraging people with the lower interest rate, then we should lower the interest on borrowing.

“Interest on loan should be lowered. That will also encourage people to take more money to restart their businesses because we need to bring the economy back on stream,” he said.

Adeleke said he would be expecting to see more deliberations on how businesses could access more funds, which he believed was a major expectation of the general investing public.

Mallam Garba Kurfi, the Managing Director, APT Securities and Funds Ltd. said that he would be expecting CBN to maintain the current rates of the interest rate, cash reserves ratio among others.

Kurfi said that the committee should consider maintaining the rate on treasury bill, which will attract banks to lend out money to businesses.

“If you want to push the economy upward, you need to have lower interest rate in terms of borrowing.

“Treasury bill should be low to attract banks to lend out their money because if you remember in 2016 when the treasury bill was 15 to 16 per cent, banks took all their money to buy treasury bill and could not lend which affected the economy.

“What I expect CBN to do is to likely maintain the rates on MPR, treasury bill and others; the MPC meeting taking place next week will see that most of the rates remain the same.

“The threshold of three to four per cent above the MPR will also remain the same, NPR and the cash reserve ratio will remain the same, that is my anticipation,” he said.

Kurfi said that devaluation of naira was another challenge to be tackled but envisaged that CBN would continue to intervene at least with the bureau de change to bring down the price of dollar.

He said that before CBN intervention, dollar was trading in the parallel market at N470 but now less at N450 or N445.

He expressed optimism that the upward price change of petrol would encourage establishment of new refineries and attract investors once the price is right.  





Edited By: Grace Yussuf
Source: NAN
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Nigerians laud CBN’s new family homes financing initiative



Some Nigerians have commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s new initiative to build affordable homes and create thousands of jobs for Nigerians.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the apex bank recently unveiled a framework for the implementation of Family Homes Financing Initiative to fast track the deployment of 300,000 homes across the country.

The financing initiative will support the Federal Government’s Economic Sustainability programme to fast track the deployment of 300,000 homes in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

Mr Abbas Ibrahim, a Pharmacist said that the initiative, if effectively implemented would go a long way to bridge housing deficit, especially in urban areas.

He urged the CBN to ensure that the initiative was not hijacked by a section of the elites, who might not allow the masses benefit from it

“I am particularly happy about this initiative.

“The way I understand it is making decent home ownership affordable to ordinary Nigerians as well as create jobs in the housing sector.

“I urge the CBN to ensure the laudable initiative is implemented without compromise,’’ he said.

Mr Raji Adebayo, an economist and a civil servant, commended the initiative as a sure path to poverty reduction and employment generation.

“I saw the report about CBN’s framework for family home financing initiative and I was particularly impressed.

“Apart from generating affordable homes and thousands of employment, it will equally support local content development in the housing sector.

“The fact that 90 per cent of the materials for the construction component of the initiative will be sourced locally is cheering,’’ he said.

Mrs Mojisola Olaniyi, a business woman also commended the idea of home ownership financing by the Federal Government.

She, however, urged the CBN to ensure that its collaboration with a private developer did not make the houses unaffordable to the masses.

“I learnt that the initiative is to support the Federal Government’s Economic Sustainability programme to fast track the deployment of 300,000 homes across the country.

“It is a good initiative but the CBN and other government agencies involved should drive the process to the end and not allow the private developer set prohibitive cost to the homes when completed.’’

NAN reports that the CBN in its website:, said that the initiative would generate about 1.5 million jobs in the process.

It said the introduction of mass housing was key economic activities with potential to create significant number of jobs rapidly.

Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Grace Yussuf
Source: NAN
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Edo election: INEC distributes sensitive materials to LGAs



The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Thursday began the distribution of sensitive election materials to the 18 Local Government Areas of Edo, ahead of the Saturday’s governorship election.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN, reports that the materials were distributed amidst tight security.

The exercise which took place at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Benin branch, was witnessed by political parties’ agents, accredited observers and newsmen.

Speaking to newsmen, Mr Timidi Wariowei, INEC’s Head of Voter Education and Publicity in Edo, said that the distribution of the materials began with the farthest LGAs.

Wariowei said, “So far we have loaded about 11 LGAs. We started from Akoko-Edo, Etsako Central, Owan East and Owan West among others.

“Some have gone and others are completely loaded and are sorting out their security escort and very soon materials will move to all the local governments.

“From the local governments, the materials will move to Registration Areas Centres (RACs) and from the RACs they will move to the polling units and voting points on Saturday morning.

He said that INEC was fully ready for the election, adding “this is the high point of our preparation, that is moving the materials from the CBN to LGAs’’.

Edited By: Johnson Eyiangho/Donald Ugwu
Source: NAN
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Stakeholders applaud call for increased banks support to agriculture



Some stakeholders in the agriculture sector have commended the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, for calling on the Nigerian banking sector to increase support for the agriculture sector.

Emefiele made the call on Tuesday in his address at the 13th Annual Banking and Finance Conference organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), with the theme “Facilitating a Sustainable Future: The role of Banking and Finance.”

He said that increased investment in the sector by the banks would boost food security and ensure sustainable economic growth.

Mr Yusuf Adam, a dealer in Agro-Allied products, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Thursday that Emefiele’s call was timely.

“Agriculture is an important sector in any nation’s economy and it should get priority attention from banks, but Nigerian commercial banks do not see it as a priority, maybe because of its slow return on investment.

`The advice from the CBN governor is timely, and I urge Nigerian banks to heed and increase their investment portfolio on agric to boost food production and economic growth,’’ he said.

Mr Chidi Nnana, a commercial farmer, described the CBN governor’s call as a welcome development.

“Agriculture was the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy during and after independence in the 1960s, before crude oil was discovered.

“Now that revenue from crude oil can no longer sustain the economy, government needs to take practical steps to diversify the economy, starting with agriculture and manufacturing,’’ he said.

Mr Banjo Adedeji, an Economist and a Policy Analyst, urged the apex bank to go a step further by actually compelling commercial banks to dedicate a percentage of their investment portfolio to agriculture.

He described the agriculture sector as integral in ensuring food security, employment generation and economic growth.

“Government’s modest effort in agriculture manifested itself during the global lockdown occasioned by COVID-19.

“While some countries experienced acute food shortage during the lockdown, Nigeria was able to get by due to government’s modest investment in agriculture.

“Commercial banks should take a cue and heed CBN’s call by increasing  their support to farmers and farming activities,’’ he said.

Adedeji called on the federal government to improve security across the country, to allow farmers access to their farms unhindered.

“No matter the volume of investment in agriculture, if bandits and other violent criminals continue to prevent farmers from accessing their farms, that investment will not yield the required dividends.

“Government should fight insecurity to ensure food security,’’ he said.

Recall that in his address at the CIBN conference, Emefiele said that a key area of focus that the banking sector should increase its support for was the agriculture sector.

He emphasised that measures taken by the federal government to boost food security saved the country from acute food shortage during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“We have witnessed the disruptions COVID-19 has had on global supply chains and food supply.

“ If measures had not been taken earlier to improve cultivation and processing of staple crops in Nigeria prior to the onset of the pandemic, we would have had to deal with a major food crisis in the country.

“The banking sector, therefore, has a significant role to play as a facilitator of growth through its intermediation function.

“ Over the next four years, the banking sector should consider ways through which it could increase its loans to the agriculture sector from four percent to 10 percent by 2024,’’ he said.

Emefiele suggested that some of the opportunities in the agriculture sector that banks should explore include storage centres, transport logistics and technology platforms that can enable rural farmers to sell their produce directly to the markets.

“More importantly, our agricultural sector also offers significant opportunity for the nation to earn foreign exchange through the exports of processed agricultural products.

“With declining foreign exchange earnings from crude oil, banks should consider supporting agro processing companies that are export oriented.

“These measures would help to improve productivity of farmers, increase our foreign exchange earnings, reduce post-harvest losses and increase access to finance for farmers.

“The measures would also support the growth of other sectors of our economy such as manufacturing, and transportation,’’ he said.

The CBN governor urged the banks to also focus more on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.

“Another sector which has emerged as a significant source of resilience in mitigating the impact of Covid-19 on the economy, ICT,’’ he said.

Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle
Source: NAN



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