Banks refuse to lend N60b SMEs fund, says Emefiele

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Commercial banks are not lending over N60 billion five per cent contribution from their annual profits to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele said yesterday.

The contribution from the lenders followed CBN’s directive to banks to contribute five per cent of their annual profits for on lending to SMEs which has so far yielded N60 billion.

Speaking at the ongoing 10th Annual Bankers’ Committee retreat in Lagos, Emefiele said although the lenders are making the contribution, the funds are sitting idly and un-utilised at the CBN.

He stated they were only being invested in Treasury Bills while SMEs continue to suffer over poor credit access.

Emefiele said lending to the SMEs remained a focus of the CBN, urging banks to put more efforts at ensuring more credit flow to the weak in the economy, who he described as ordinary people without opportunities to borrow from banks.

The CBN boss also announced the possible take-off of National Microfinance Bank from January 2019 to ensure more credits flow to the grassroots and make improve Nigerians access to financing services.

He said the National Microfinance Bank will be instituted in partnership with the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) and the Bankers’ Committee with a takeoff capital base of N5 billion.
He said that NIPOST will provide the facility for implementation across its 774 local government areas where it has offices.

He said the initiative is part of the bankers’ Committee efforts at boosting financial inclusion by taking banking to the grassroots.

“There will be a N5 billion capital base and the bank will benefit from NIPOST widespread location,” he disclosed.