Amidst worries of Nigeria’s currency free fall against foreign currencies in the foreign exchange market, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) assured Nigerians yesterday that it was floating policies that will promote the stability of the Naira.
Head, External Communications, Corporate Communications Department of the apex bank, Mr. Isaac Okorafor gave the assurance in Ilorin, Kwara state at a ‘CBN Fair’ organized, to promote the bank’s provisions for small and medium scale enterprises. He said the CBN was worried by the fall of the Naira at the international market, adding that this has necessitated the introduction of Produce, Add Value and Export (PAVE) programme.
According to Okorafor who counselled participants to start small, produce, add value and then export, steps taken so far by the apex bank, particularly the removal of some 41 items from the list of accessibility to foreign exchange, was done to ensure that the naira does not enter into devaluation.
His words: “As a manufacturer, if you start small, you can still produce and export and you make more money. And the Central Bank of Nigeria is ready to support you even if it requires you using foreign exchange to produce something that you will export, we will give you access to buy foreign exchange at a reasonable rate.
“That is the attitude now; produce, add value and export. The 41 items that we have removed from the list from accessibility to foreign exchange means that we are creating market, we are creating an opportunity for people who want to produce and export.
“These are things to safeguard our foreign exchange from further depleting and in addition to be sure that at least we do not get to a state where we enter into more devaluation. That is what will make our money to be worthless. As long as we are doing that, there will be stability of our forex”.
Earlier, an Assistant Director, Development Finance Department of the bank, Mr. Babatunde Ogunlaja had explained that state governments have so far accessed N45 billion out of the N220 billion Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF). He said 60 percent, two percent and 10 percent of the MSMEDF have been set aside for women, people with disability and start-ups respectively.
He said: “CBN is making available interventions. N220 billion MSMEDF comes cheap, affordable and is nine per cent maximum interest inclusive of all charges and it is per annum. We need to sharpen our mechanism to be checking their books of financial institutions to make sure they are complying and we enforce compliance.
“Any one that we release funds to, in five days is supposed to disburse. Kwara State is one the states that disburse the money fairly well and they are paying back. Kwara state is one of those states and I can score them above 80 per cent.