Business

CBN charges banks to support firms with foreign exchange inflow

by JOHNMARK UKOKO

As Nigeria continues to grapple with scarcity of dollars, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has urged Nigerian banks to support indigenous companies to increase foreign exchange inflows and boost economic growth.

A CBN team on inspection of projects funded through Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in Lagos gave the advice recently. It noted that the apex bank was counting on these companies to expand export earnings and achieve the goal of 200 billion dollars in foreign exchange repatriation in three to four years.

The CBN team visited Pinnacle Oil and Gas FZE Candel Company Limited, Lagos Free Zone and Sana Building Systems all in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos State.

Head, Legal Services Department of CBN, Kofo Salam-Alada during a visit to Candel Company Limited, urged commercial banks to support Nigerian companies to boost production in the country.

“With what the company is doing, I believe that bankers should actually start coming for them, it is not just the Central Bank’s intervention funds. Nigerian banks should actually seek them to see how they can partner with them to achieve their goals.

“The key thing that Nigerians must also know is that we need to support our own, not just in terms of employment generation, CBN that is interested in increasing foreign exchange in this country, it is something that needs to be supported,” he said.

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Speaking, Director, Banking Supervision Department, Haruna Mustapha, said what the company was doing was quite complementary to the apex bank’s “RT200” designed to boost the non-oil sector.

“Cancel stands at two critical junctures: It is a manufacturing outfit. CBN recently introduced the RT200 designed to boost the non – oil sector and what Candel is doing here is quite complementary to that policy.

“Again, it is providing the needed support to the agricultural sector which will feed into the policy of the government to diversify the productive base of the Nigerian economy. Ultimately we expect to see a solid impact especially when you consider the various chains this business touches.

“So, we need more support for companies like Candel and if we can have them in sufficient critical mass, the future looks great for Nigeria,” Mustapha said.

Also speaking, Director of Development Finance at CBN, Yila Yusuf, noted that the bank under its commercial Agro Credit Scheme disbursed N2 billion to Candel, adding that the apex bank was impressed with how the company deployed the funds. “We have given Candel N2 billion under our Commercial Agro Credit scheme, fully paid through First Bank.

We came here to see essentially, the manufacturing line they have and their new products. We are impressed with what we have seen.

“The CBN will continue to support and work with performing companies. Quite a number of new jobs both direct and indirect that we have seen on the floor line,” he said.

Responding, Chairman of Candel Company Limited, Charles Anudu, who noted that manufacturing companies in Nigeria are suffering a lot of difficulties doing business in Nigeria, urged banks to be development-oriented like the CBN.

“We suffer a lot of disadvantage manufacturing in Nigeria. Our cost of production is very high. We have to generate our own power and do everything which is very expensive. Yet, we still compete against countries doing exports to Nigeria,” he stressed.

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