CBN set to pump N60bn Intervention Fund in vulnerable sector

Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has disclosed a plan by the bank, in collaboration with partner banks to deploy N60 billion Intervention Fund in the “vulnerable sector in the next few days” to stimulate the economy.

Emefiele said this in a keynote address he delivered after he received The Guardian “Economic Personality of the Year 2017” award in Lagos at the weekend.

He also disclosed that by the middle of this year, the Agri-business, SME Investment Scheme Fund (AGSMEIS), which was derived from an initiative by the banks to set aside five per cent of their profit after tax year, would have risen to N60 billion.

Emefiele explained: “In 2016, the banks came up with an initiative where they all agreed that they would contribute five per cent of their profit after tax, to support the development initiatives of governments in Nigeria.

“By the middle of this year, the banks would have contributed N60 billion into the fund. I can assure you all that in the next few days, the CBN together with the banks would be unfolding the disbursement to the vulnerable sectors in Nigeria.”

Commenting on the central bank’s interventions in real sectors of the economy in recent time, the CBN Governor disclosed that N393.5 billion had been released to 478 large scale agricultural projects since inception in 2010.

Furthermore, in terms of the Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF), he said the CBN was poised to disburse up to N400 billion at only nine per cent.

This strategic initiative, according to him, targets projects in manufacturing and agriculture, given the mutual interdependence of both sectors for the complete industrialisation of agro-allied business.

“The CBN has also made efforts to finance agricultural value- chain activities through NIRSAL, which was established in 2011 and is now incorporated as a non-bank financial institution.

“Under NIRSAL, more than 224 projects valued at over N33 billion were guaranteed for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture’s Growth Enhancement Scheme.

“Also, under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), as we speak, domestic rice production has increased many folds and its imports have crashed substantially.

“While Kebbi State alone is expected to produce over two million metric tonnes of rice annually, employees at Labana Rice Mills are trying to keep pace with demand, processing 320 tons of rice a day, a 250 percent increase from the previous year.

As a result of this we have seen sharp drop in imports of rice from several countries,” he said.

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