N220b MSMED Fund: States access N45b, says CBN

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday said state governments have accessed N45 billion out of the N220 billion Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) set aside for development thenation report.

The apex bank added that 60 per cent, two per cent and 10 per cent of the MSMEDF had been set aside for women, people with disability and start-ups respectively.

CBN said it is worried by naira fall at the international market, adding that this has necessitated the introduction of produce, add value and export (PAVE) programme.

Its Assistant Director, Development Finance Department, Mr. Babatunde Ogunlaja and Head, External Communications, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Isaac Okorafor spoke in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital during separate presentations at the CBN’s fair.

Mr. Ogunlaja 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 the 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 disbursed the money fairly well and they are paying back. It is one of those states and I can score them above 80 per cent.”

He said the essence of the fair is to sensitise, enlighten, and create awareness among users of CBN products. “We are simply a regulator. We regulate banks and work with financial institutions. Essentially, there are deliverables and services that we render to the public in the trust of fulfilling our mandate. Even the recipients do not even know by way of right and they do not have deepen understanding. It is a feed back system so that we can have a level of customer satisfaction,” he added.

Mr. Okorafor said that the apex bank is floating policies that will promote stability of the Naira.

He stressed that: “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.”

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