The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)-backed Bankers’ Committee yesterday approved N200 billion facility to support and standardize agricultural produce exportation.
The funds will be disbursed by commercial banks at single digit interest rate and 10-year tenor.
Speaking at the end of Bankers’ Committee meeting in Lagos, Managing Director, United Bank for Africa, Kennedy Uzoka, said since the Bankers’ Committee retreat last December, the committee has been looking for way of assisting Nigerian farmers in the area of exporting their farm produce.
The products that will be targeted according to the committee, include, oil palm, cocoa, cashew nuts, sesame seeds and shea butter.
He said the committee expects the exports of these products which is in abundant across the country to boost our foreign exchange earnings.
The banks said at the end of the meeting in Lagos that they have come up with an immediate, medium and long term plans to address the issues.
“Towards the end of last year, the banking community under the supervision of the Central Bank of Nigeria had our retreat at the theme of that retreat was how we can transform our economy through export. We set up a sub-committee to look into issues and the members of that sub-committee consist of people who have operated in geographies in our continent where exports have done very well”.
“We interrogated this and we worked with different government agencies across the African continent and also we came back home to check what we have and we found out that indeed we have a lot of policies but the challenge has been execution. And we narrowed this down to seven broad areas and typically people will say we don’t have money, which is true, finance is one of the major challenges but we also saw logistic as a challenge and also policies. We believe that a lot of polices around exportation need to be changed if we want to really make and headway”, Uzoka said.
Also speaking, CBN Director, Banking Supervision, Ahmed Abdulahi, said the first three months in the year have been good for the country despite being period for general election as the country recorded an inflow of $6 billion.
He said this must be attributed to the positive sentiment around the economy in the period despite headwinds recorded in major economies of the world.
His words: “The first three months in the year have been very good to us as a country. $6 billion came into the economy between January and March this year and this was because of our insistence to conform to the import substitution programmes, the Anchor Borrowers Scheme and other new initiatives of the bankers committee”.
The committee also disclosed plans to pay more attention to the creative industry. It said it will be a single digit facility with 10 years period. Pointing out that the collateral will be flexible base on their value chains.
Managing Director, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, said the committee noted that emphasis will be on practitioners that are in the business full time. The areas are movie, music, fashion and information technology.
He added that the committee after a lot of research identified the creative and IT sector as a critical sectors to support social and inclusive growth in Nigeria.
He said the sector would generate a significant amount of employment given that Nigerians involved in the creative sector have done well in music and others.