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CBN clarifies position on 2.15m fertilizer bags donation, reiterates monetary policy role



By Sodiq Adelakun

The Central Bank of Nigeria in a circular in Saturday has clarified that its donation of 2.15 million bags of fertilizers to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security is not a new intervention effort, but rather a use of leftover fertilizers from a previous program.

The CBN stated that its primary purpose is to oversee monetary policy, and it has no plans to engage in development financing through intervention programs.

It stated that the donation of the blended fertilizers aimed to bolster food security within the country, preferring to distribute them rather than let them go to waste.

The CBN also reiterated its prior stance that its main function is to oversee monetary policy, and it explicitly denies participation in development financing via intervention programmes.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria has not initiated any new intervention but has rather donated fertilisers from the remnants of its stock, which were blended under its previous interventions in the agricultural sector.

“This decision is aimed at supporting domestic agricultural production rather than allowing the fertilisers to remain unused and go to waste.

“We anticipate that the fertilisers will ultimately support our overall objective of price stability, which is being challenged by rising food inflation.

“As stated by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria on several occasions, the CBN is realigning its focus towards its core mandate of ensuring monetary and price stability, thus stopping its direct involvement in development finance interventions.

“The CBN will, however, support relevant organizations that possess the expertise and capacity to intervene directly,” the statement read.

Earlier, it was reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) supported the agricultural sector by distributing over 2 million bags of fertilizers, valued at N100 billion, via the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to farmers.

In response to concerns that its donation of fertilizers could be interpreted as a shift in the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) approach to economic interventions, the bank issued a circular that reaffirmed its commitment to monetary policy.

The circular clarified that the donation of fertilizers was made with the intent of preventing the materials from going to waste, and was not an indication of a change in the CBN’s position on intervention programs.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria has reiterated its focus on monetary policy and has maintained a hands-off approach to intervention programs in the real sectors of the economy,” the circular stated. “

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Money market

Naira slumps marginally at official, parallel windows



The naira slumped marginally against the United States dollar on Friday. Data from the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM) showed that the domestic currency traded at N1, 485.53/$1 on Friday.

At the end of trading today, the naira lost less than N1 against the dollar as against the N1,485.36/$1 it recorded on Thursday.

The intra-day high and low recorded during the day were N1, 505/$1 and N1, 401/$1 respectively, representing a very lean spread of N104\$1.

Similarly, the naira slumped against the dollar at the parallel section of the market to trade at N1,495/$1, as against the N1,490/$1 it traded the previous trading day.

However, the Nigerian currency appreciated slightly against the British Pound to trade at N1,890\£1 s against the previous trading day’s N1,900\£1. For several weeks consecutively, the Canadian dollar closed flat against the naira to trade at N1,200| CA$1.

The naira also lost N10 against the Euro to trade at N1,590/€1 as against the previous trading day’s N1,580/€1.

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Money market

CBN, OPS collaborate to boost Nigeria’s financial sector



By Opeyemi Abdulsalam

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently hosted a meeting with the Organised Private Sector (OPS) to discuss strategies for enhancing Nigeria’s financial sector.

The meeting aimed to improve monetary policy communication and guidance to boost Nigeria’s image in the global investment community.

CBN Governor, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, emphasised the importance of private sector contributions to economic policy and pledged to establish a framework for collaboration and regular interactions with OPS leadership.

“The private sector is a critical engine of our economy. This meeting underscores our commitment to working collaboratively with stakeholders to create a more robust and investor-friendly financial environment,” Cardoso said.

The CBN presented an overview of the economy’s trajectory, highlighting the deceleration of inflation and expectations of moderation.

The Bank assured the private sector of its commitment to building trust, ensuring price stability, and implementing monetary policies to support economic growth and stability in foreign exchange rates.

The meeting also addressed concerns about macroeconomic risks, exchange rate volatility, and the need for development finance support.

The CBN and OPS agreed to work together to create a more robust and investor-friendly financial environment.

“We appreciate the CBN’s open dialogue and interest in ensuring the manufacturing industry and other organised private sectors are abreast of the bank’s policies,” said Otunba Francis Meshioye, President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN).

The meeting demonstrated the CBN’s commitment to collaboration and its willingness to listen to the concerns of the private sector.

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Money market

Sterling Bank, SMEDAN partner on data platform, Databanc



Sterling Bank and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria have launched a platform called Databanc that provides data on businesses in Nigeria and N5bn worth of single-digit loan programmes.

A statement from the bank said that Databank provides insights which will be utilised by SMEDAN to deliver its mandate on policy formulation and a unique identification for small businesses and their promoters.

Speaking at the launch of the platform, the Executive Director of Commercial and Institutional Banking at Sterling Bank, Tunde Adeola, described the platform and fund as evidence of Sterling Bank’s commitment towards growing the real sector of the nation’s economy.

Adeola said, “We are delighted to bolster the backbone of our economy with SMEDAN. This initial fund of N5bn marks just the beginning of what has been and will continue to be a mainstay of our approach to funding businesses to grow at scale, and become the preferred financial partner for businesses, no matter their scale.”

He added that over 20,000 SMEs had enrolled on the Databanc platform, with over 80 beneficiaries of the single-digit loan programme and further disbursements ongoing.

He encouraged all MSMEs in the country to enrol on the platform.

SMEDAN’s Director-General, Mr Charles Odii, represented by the Director of Agribusiness Development and Access to Finance, Levi Anyikwa, highlighted the programme’s alignment with SMEDAN’s mission to democratise credit access for nano and micro-enterprises.

Anyikwa affirmed that access to finance remained a significant hurdle for SMEs, and restated SMEDAN’s commitment to removing that barrier.

The Head of SME Digital Products at Sterling Bank, Bolanle Tyson, emphasised Sterling Bank’s strategic focus on critical sectors encapsulated in the HEART of Sterling forward strategy: Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable Energy, and Transportation.

She said, “We are leveraging data to empower SMEs like never before. Our commitment to SMEs is steadfast. We recognise their pivotal role in driving Nigeria’s GDP and employment. This partnership with SMEDAN underscores our shared dedication to their success.”

The latest study from Visa, the SME Megatrends report showed that SMEs in Nigeria remained heavily underserved and underbanked with a considerable amount of SMEs relying on personal loans and informal credit, as they face obstacles and requirements that make it difficult to secure loans from banks and other formal lending institutions.

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