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Going Forward with CBN, Emefiele’s 5-Year Roadmap

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CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele
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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr Godwin Emefiele, on Monday 24th July, 2019 unfolded the policy direction of his new five-year tenure which will terminate in 2024.

Addressing a World Press Conference at the CBN corporate headquarters in  Abuja, the governor promised to facilitate access to financial services to 95 per cent eligible Nigerians as well as “continue to work to safeguard the stability of our financial system, while supporting the development of a payment system infrastructure that will improve access to credit for all eligible Nigerians”.


“Over the next five years, this will be the task for the Central Bank of Nigeria under my leadership, and we intend to do our very best to achieve these objectives”, he had assured.


Although Emefiele acknowledged that much was still left to be achieved from a similar agenda set in July 5, 2014, when he was first appointed, he said he was confident the bank will meet the expectations of Nigerians in the next five years.

Reviewing the achievements and challenges of the CBN in his first tenure, the governor pointed out that “with increased consultation and cooperation with the fiscal authorities and other interest groups, the agenda will be realised”.

In driving this vision, Emefiele expects that the bank under his management for the next five years, will work closely with the fiscal authorities to target a double digit growth; bring down inflation to single digit; and accelerate the rate of employment”.

“Put succinctly, our priorities at the CBN over the next five years are the following; First, preserve domestic macroeconomic and financial stability; Second, foster the development of a robust payments system infrastructure that will increase access to finance for all Nigerians thereby raising the financial inclusion rate in the country; Third, continue to work with the

Deposit Money Banks to improve access to credit for not only small holder farmers and MSMEs but also consumer credit and mortgage facilities for bank customers. Our intervention support shall also be extended to our youth population who possess entrepreneurship skills in the creative industry,” he had said.

Even as the governor promised to encourage the Deposit Money Banks to direct more focus in supporting the education sector, grow the country’s external reserves, and support efforts at diversifying the economy through CBN intervention programmes in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, the apex bank may have concluded plans to raise the banks’ minimum capital base from the present N25 billion to over N200 billion.

“In the next five years, we intend to pursue a programme of recapitalising the banking Industry to position Nigerian banks among the top 500 in the world.

“Banks will therefore be required to maintain higher levels of capital, as well as liquid assets in order to reduce the impact of an economic crisis on the financial system,” he said.

On macro-economic stability, he said over the next five years, emphasis would be on supporting improved gross domestics product (GDP) growth and greater private sector investment.

According to him, the CBN intends to leverage monetary policy tools in supporting a low inflation environment, while seeking to maintain stability in our exchange rate.

He said decisions by the Monetary Policy Committee on inflation and interest rates will be dependent on insights generated from data on key economic variables.

He also said the CBN would also strive to continue to sustain a positive interest rate regime and that monetary policy measures, will be geared towards containing inflationary pressure and supporting improved productivity in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors.

To bring down the cost of food items, which have considerable weight in the Consumer Price Index basket, Mr Emefiele said the bank will work with other interest groups towards that objective.

“Our ultimate objective is to anchor the public’s inflation expectation at single digits in the medium to long run. We believe a low and stable inflationary environment is essential to the growth of our economy because it will help support long term planning by individuals and businesses,” he assured.

On Exchange Rate Stability, Mr Emefiele said the bank will continue to operate a managed float exchange rate regime, to reduce the impact the continuous volatility in the exchange rate could have on the country’s economy.

He the CBN will support measures to increase and diversify Nigeria’s exports base and ultimately help in shoring up the country’s foreign reserves.

Nigeria, he said, remains committed to a free trade regime that is mutually beneficial; but, particularly aimed at supporting our domestic industries and creating jobs on a mass scale for Nigerians.

Consequently, he said, the CBN intends to aggressively implement its N500 billion financial support facility to boost the growth of the non-oil exports and improve non-oil export earnings.

To achieve Financial System Stability, Mr Emefiele said a resilient and stable financial system was imperative for continued growth of the country’s economy given the intermediation role of financial institutions, to support the needs of individuals and businesses.

“In the next five years, we intend to pursue a programme of recapitalising the banking Industry to position Nigerian banks among the top 500 in the world.

“Banks will therefore be required to maintain higher levels of capital, as well as liquid assets in order to reduce the impact of an economic crisis on the financial system,” he said.

Reacting to the development. the Chairman, Charteted Institute of Bankers (CIBN), Abuja Chapter, Prof Uche Uwsleke said Ememefie’s five year policy thrust “is a good development with a lot of positive impact on the economy”.

 In an interview with Daily Asset on Tuesday, Uwaleke, professor of Capital Market said, “The recapitalization of banks will strengthen financial system stability and put our banks in a stronger position to finance big projects needed for development as well as play in the global scene”.

“The planned introduction of a Trade monitoring system that reduces the length of time it takes to process export documents from one week to one day will surely boost exports. 

“Also commendable is the plan to scale up the Anchor Borrower Programme and target for massive funding support 10 commodities that consume a lot of foreign exchange to import. 

“This will help conserve Forex, grow external reserves, reduce food prices and possibly create job opportunities. The plan to build a robust payment infrastructure including  through promoting payment service banks, shared agent networks, mobile money will go a long way in helping to achieve the target of 95 percent financial inclusion by the year 2024. 

“Similarly, the boost in the Collateral Registry where over N400 billion worth of assets have been registered as well as the NISRAL microfinance bank will no doubt improve access to finance by micro and small businesses. 

“The major risk I see in the pursuit of price and monetary stability which is the core function of the CBN is the volatility in crude oil price given our dependence on the sector. The CBN is therefore advised to have a plan B in its five year plan. 

“It is also vital to get the cooperation of the fiscal authorities especially when it comes to the task of achieving double digit growth because on this very score, the CBN cannot clap with one hand”, he argued.

On capitalization, the university don’t however advised the CBN to raise the banks’ capital base to N100 billion, up from N25 billion. 

“The N25 billion is already eroded when you look at our exchange rate. It is better to have 10 healthy banks than 20 that will be giving CBN headache. The tier two banks are also the most exposed banks to NPLs. The big five, are not giving CBN much problem like the others”, he argued.

“Bigger banks can easily bankroll larger businesses. So,  if we are one of the 500 banks in the world, we can play comfortably in the international league. Bigger banks have better corporate governance and monitoring by CBN is much easier. Fewer stronger banks will invest in the right technology to deliver better services”, Uwaleke further pointed out.

In his reaction, CIBN President, Dr Uche Olowu, said there was no need for panic among bankers as  the Nigeria financial system remains stable stressing that the whole idea of recapitalisation was to continue to sustain that stability in order to expand the scope of banks to do bigger businesses.

Olowu however advised the boards of the banks to go back to the drawing board and restrategise ahead of the CBN’s impending reapitalisation, assuring that the system will take care of itself with adequate planning.

BUSINESS

NAICOM, RMAFC Collaborate on Economic Diversification

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The Commissioner for Insurance/CEO, Mr. Olusegun Ayo Omosehin, and his management team have met with the members of the Constitutional Committee on “Mobilisation and Diversification” of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission ( RMAFC) led by Engr.

Sani Mohammed Baba, to explore ways of diversifying the Nigerian economy.

During their working visit to NAICOM Headquarters, Mr.
Olusegun Ayo Omosehin, in his opening remarks, reaffirmed the critical role of the insurance sector regulator in supervising, regulating, and safeguarding the interests of insurance policyholders.
He highlighted insurance’s pivotal role in mobilising savings for long-term developmental projects and enabling businesses to thrive while managing risks effectively.

He also stressed the Commission’s commitment to ensuring insurance companies meet their obligations, thus contributing to the sustainability of the economy.
Speaking, Mohammed Baba emphasised the importance of revenue generation, institutional expansion, and employment creation for Nigerians through collaborative efforts.
The Commissioner for Insurance also acknowledged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s ambitious goal of growing the Nigerian economy to One Trillion United States Dollars ($1 trillion) by 2026.
He expressed the insurance sector’s intent to significantly contribute to this objective. Additionally, he mentioned ongoing efforts to embed insurance within the National Credit Scheme to ensure its sustainability.
Mr. Omosehin stressed the need for continuous advocacy and sensitization of government institutions about the vital role of insurance in national economic development.

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BUSINESS

22,000 Beneficiaries to Get N50,000 Nano Businesses Grant in Kogi

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From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
No fewer than 22,000 beneficiaries in Kogi will get N50,000 each, under the Presidential Conditional Grant Scheme (PCGS) to boost Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the state
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of Kogi Enterprise Development Agency (KEDA), Hon.

Muhammed Kadiri Okeji, disclosed this on Thursday during enrollment exercise at the palace of Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Okene.

Okeji said the PCGS was being  implemented by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment through the Bank of Industry (BOI) in partnership with the Kogi Government in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu.
He noted that the PCGS enrollment for beneficiaries of Nano businesses was flagged by Kogi Government simultaneously on Wednesday across the three senatorial districts in Okene, Ankpa and Kabba respectively.

He disclosed that over 22,000 beneficiaries across the 21 local government areas of Kogi would receive N50,000 each as grant to boost their nano businesses and improve sustainability.
According to him, about 1070 beneficiaries would get the grant from each of the 21 local government areas across the state.
“The PCGS is aimed at ameliorating the harrowing effects of the fuel subsidy removal, to provide a one-off grant of N50,000 to over 22,000 Nano business owners across Kogi State.
“We are grateful to Mr President for the impactful initiative at a time of stiff economic challenges for both businesses and the generality of Nigerian citizens.
“Mr President’s gesture is a sensitive step towards safeguarding the small business ecosystem which is the lifewire of the nation’s economy,” he said.
Okeji expressed gratitude to Gov. Ahmed Ododo for keying into the initiative and providing the adequate resources required to draw down the benefits to thousands of Kogi Nano businesses.
This, he said the governor was fulfilling his determination to strengthen the MSMEs which remained the backbone of the nation’s economy.
He added: “We thank our governor for swinging into action to provide the needed resources to complement the effort of the federal government in flagging off the scheme across Kogi.
“As we embark on this journey of empowering our Nano businesses today, let me remind you that you are the backbone of our economy.
“As such, the government of our dear Gov. Ahmed Ododo is determined to provide all the support that will boost your capacity and survival. We will not let you fail”, Okeji assured.
In his remarks, the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, HRM Alh. Ahmed Tijani-Anaje, commended President Tinubu for the timely initiative, and eulogised the governor for ensuring that a larger number of Kogi citizens benefited from the scheme.
Our Correspondent reports that Okeji subsequently went round the state to monitor the enrollment exercise in Kabba and Lokoja.
Okeji further said that the enrollment exercise which was being conducted by officials of BoI, was expected to continue till Friday, while disbursement follows immediately.
One of the beneficiaries, Oyiza Bajeh from Adavi, thanked the President for the gesture, and appreciated the Governor for deeming it fit to bring the program to the grassroots.
“When I received a text message from BOI to come for data capture, I dismissed it as one of those scams. But upon a second thought, I decided to give it a tryer.
“Surprisingly, I met a huge crowd of market women, youth and even people with disabilities gathered here at the Ohinoyi palace for the exercise.
“We are very grateful to President Tinubu and Governor Ododo for the gesture,” Bajeh said.

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Accountant General Declares N318.5b Revenue Inflow in First Quarter

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By Ubong Ukpong, Abuja
The Accountant General of the Federation, Mrs Oluwatoyin Madein on Wednesday said total revenue inflows to the Federal Government in the first quarter of 2024 amounted to N318.5 billion.
She disclosed this in a hearing by the House of Representatives Committee on Finance to monitor the revenue by agencies of the Federal Government.


Represented by the Director, Revenue Expenses, Felix Ogundayero, she said this was against a total expected revenue of N2.
591 trillion for the year 2024.
She added that a reconciliation of the figures was still ongoing and what was declared is what is available at the moment.
Madein expressed confidence that it would be an exceptional year in terms of revenue for the country based on the policies of the present administration.

She said the bottom up cash planning policy would be adopted in implementing the 2024 budget.
She said, “Reconciliation is still being done but the total revenue inflows to the federal government for January to March amounts to N318. 5 billion as against a total budget of 2.691 trillion.
“For the budget, the bottom up cash planning policy is on course and the 2024 budget is going to be implemented via that policy and officers have been retained and sensitization is ongoing to ensure that MDAs are well equipped on the modalities and conditionalities,” he said.
Chairman of the Committee, Hon James Faleke, said the essence of the sitting was in line with their duty as a parliament to oversee to ensure that the revenue estimates which were submitted by each agency before the 2024 appropriation bill was passed into law are met.
He said, “We have to ensure that those estimates are met. The Appropriation has become a law and so that revenue that you proposed to generate in the year we take it upon ourselves to do it on a quarterly basis to measure your performance.
“We want to ensure that revenue activities from January to March are in line with your appropriation. When you are giving us your figure, you tell us what the figure was expected for the generation and what you have achieved. Also tell us your expenditure,” Faleke said.
Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI), Dr Armstrong Takang, also disclosed that so far N101 billion have been declared as dividends by some agencies under it.
He said the report presented was not comprehensive as some agencies were yet to declare their dividends due to various factors.
He said, “So far we have received dividends declared by some companies. But for many others their reports are either being prepared and have not been completed or have been completed but they have not gone to their boards for approval and subsequently the AGM and as such we cannot use the number of their dividends until that has been done based on the corporate governance rules.
“Based on the number so far, it’s about N101 billion from the entities we have identified. We continue with other entities whose dividends have not been paid to ensure we go through the process of them passing it at the board level and the AGM before the figures are sent to us and the money rendered to the treasury.”
The Chairman of the Committee, Faleke, directed that all the agencies under MOFI should produce their annual report for the past 10 years.
“All organisations under MOFI should produce their annual report for the past 10 years and the dividend that ought to have been paid, what ought to have been paid, and what was paid by each of the agencies, and of course evidence of payments,” Faleke said.
The House also berated the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation for performing far below expectations.
The Corporation, represented by Dr Philip Ashunze, had said out of a total expected revenue of N10 billion, it had only generated N70 million so far.

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