Feyisayo Popoola and Dayo Ojerinde
The Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday injected $210m into the foreign exchange market to meet customers’ requests in various segments of the market.
The CBN said in a statement that it offered $100m to authorised dealers in the wholesale segment of the market, while the Small and Medium Enterprises segment got $55m.
It said customers requesting forex for invisibles such as tuition fees, medical payments and basic travel allowance were allocated the sum of $55m.
The statement said, “The CBN, following the earlier take-off of its intervention in the sale of foreign exchange in Chinese yuan, injected the sum $340,507,376.51 into the interbank retail secondary market intervention sales. This was in addition to the sale of CNY69,858,087.15 in the spot and short-tenored forward.”
The naira continued its stability in the forex market, exchanging at an average of 360/$1 in the Bureau de Change segment of the market as of July 31, 2018.
Meanwhile, the CBN said it has disbursed N170bn of the N220bn fund for Small and Medium-scale Enterprises.
The Senior Manager, Department of Development Finance, CBN, Chinedu Zephaniah, who stated this at a workshop on funding Nigeria’s SMEs organised by the Bankers’ Committee in Lagos, however, said the percentage of people that repaid loans at the appropriate time was not encouraging.
He stated, “To access all the interventions of the CBN, what the SMEs need to do is to convince their respective banks that when they take the money, they will pay back on the agreed dates.
“When people pay back as and when due, it will avail others the opportunity to access the fund.”
The Head, Business Banking, Standard Chartered Bank, Benjamin Dike, said there was a need to increase credit culture in the country in order to record significant improvement in the area of financial inclusion.
“As SMEs, if you collect money to create wealth and you refund the money as and when due, the confidence of lending institutions will be high and we will collectively achieve tangible growth,” he stated.
According to Dike, most businesses fail not because they lack financing, but because they lack competent and managerial skills.
He urged financial institutions to focus on creating business knowledge and managerial capacity among the SMEs.
The Executive Director, SME, Bank of Industry, Waheed Olagunju, who was represented by the Regional Manager, Obaro Osah, described the SMEs as the bedrock of industrialisation in any economy.
“There is a multiplying impact when the country develops SMEs. What we are doing is to develop products to address specific problems. We have about 42 clusters across the federation that we have identified,” he stated.
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