• Friday, June 21, 2024
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Intervention funds, financial inclusion, top achievement as Emefiele marks 60 years

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At 60 years today, Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has not relented efforts at ensuring economic growth and financial stability through strategic policies, which have in recent times been criticised.

Such policies have helped the CBN to navigate the Nigerian economy through economic challenges such as economic recession/stagflation, Covid-19 pandemic, interest rate issues, foreign exchange rates, external reserves, exchange rate, financial inclusion and the gap in the agricultural value chain.

The CBN under the leadership of Emefiele introduced various interventions, which were born out of market failure and other critical issues within the nation’s economic space, according to Osita Nwanisobi, CBN’s acting director, corporate communications department.

Currently, the CBN has 37 intervention funds targeted at stimulating the economy and addressing the issue of unemployment.

A look at some of his key achievements so far revealed that Africa’s biggest economy has recorded significant growth in banks credit to private sector by 92.79 percent year-on-year to N32.64 billion in June 2021 from N16.93 billion in June 2014, when Emefiele became the governor of the CBN.

The huge increase in banks credit growth was driven by the policy of Loan to Deposit Ratio (LDR), which the CBN under the leadership of Emefiele introduced in September 2019.

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Under the Emefiele’s led Central Bank’s development finance initiatives, the Bank granted N756.51 billion to 3,734,938 small holder farmers cultivating 4.6 million hectares of land, of which N120.24 billion was extended for the 2021 Wet Season to 627,051 farmers for 847,484 hectares of land, under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP); for the Agribusiness/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS), the sum of N121.57 billion was disbursed to 32,617 beneficiaries; and for the Targeted Credit Facility (TCF), N318.17 billion was released to 679,422 beneficiaries, comprising 572,189 households and 107,233 Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs).

Also, Under the National Youth Investment Fund (NYIF), the Bank released N3.0 billion to 7,057 beneficiaries, of which 4,411 were individuals and 2,646 SMEs. Under the Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI), N3.22 billion was disbursed to 356 beneficiaries across movie production, movie distribution, software development, fashion, and IT verticals.

The CBN under the N1.0 trillion Real Sector Facility, released N923.41 billion to 251 real sector projects, of which 87 were in light manufacturing, 40 in agro based industry, 32 in services and 11 in mining.

On the N100 billion Healthcare Sector Intervention Facility (HSIF), N98.41 billion was disbursed for 103 health care projects, of which, 26 are pharmaceuticals and 77 are in the hospital services. Similarly, the sum of N232.54 million was disbursed to 5 beneficiaries under the CBN Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention (Grant) Scheme (HSRDIS) for the development of testing kits and devices for Covid-19 and Lassa Fever.

Under the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP), N36.04 billion was disbursed to 17 Meter Asset Providers, to nine (9) DisCos, for the procurement and installation of 657,562 electricity meters. On the Nigerian Electricity Market Stabilization Facility – 2 (NEMSF-2), the CBN released N120.29 billion to 11 DisCos, to provide liquidity support and stimulate critical infrastructure investment needed to improve service delivery and collection efficiency.

On money market development, the net liquidity position and interest rates in the economy reflected the impact of the Bank’s liquidity management operations.

In collaboration with key financial institutions, the CBN has deployed several measures aimed at improving access to finance for SMEs in order to enable greater expansion of their operations. Some of these activities include enabling SMEs to leverage their movable assets to obtain capital from financial institutions, and the development of credit reporting agencies, which would encourage SMEs to maintain good credit ratings in order to obtain access to credit at relatively lower cost from financial institutions.

When he assumed office as the Central Bank governor on June 5, 2014, he stated that his vision would be to ensure that the Central Bank of Nigeria is more people focused, as its policies and programs would be geared towards supporting job creation.

Consequently, the bank’s development finance interventions have created over seven million jobs according to information from the CBN’s corporate communications department.

Over 620,000 direct and indirect jobs were created in two years as a result of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) intervention in the Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) sector.

Nigeria’s financial inclusion programme has recorded some progress. The EFInA Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2020 survey indicated that, while more Nigerian adults are financially included, the National Financial Inclusion Strategy targets were yet to be met.

Responding to Emefiele’s achievements, Ayodeji Ebo, head of retail investment, Chapel Hill Denham, said, no doubt that the CBN Governor came into position at very crucial times where the economy has experienced economic recession at two different times.

“The CBN governor has provided significant support for the Nigerian economy through the use of intervention funds to boost growth which is in line with his key agenda stated in his inaugural message. 60 hearty cheers to the CBN Governor. I wish him many more years in good health and God’s blessings,” Ebo said.

Ayodele Akinwunmi, relationship manager, corporate banking at FSDH Merchant Bank Limited, noted that Emefiele rose to the top of his banking career as the managing director of one of the largest Nigerian Banks and became the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria where he is implementing policies to grow the Nigerian economy and managing price stability.

Growing up, the CBN governor said his parents recognized that the only way to brighten his chances for a better future was to provide him with a good education.

“I witnessed their toils as they struggled to pay my school fees, sometimes using proceeds from a small palm-oil plantation we cultivated in our hometown. I sympathised with their inability to sufficiently support me through those periods, despite all the luxuries that some of my peers had,” he said.

With their relentless reminders, Emefiele remained diligent and determined to accomplish his dream of becoming a leader in his chosen field of finance. With these same virtues, he joined the Nigerian-American Merchant Bank, an affiliate of First Bank of Boston, in 1987, and in 1990, joined Zenith Bank as a pioneer staff. It is these same virtues that propelled him to become the Bank’s group managing director 20 years later, and then to be appointed the Governor of the Central Bank, by the special grace of God, in June 2014, and reappointed by President Muhammadu Buhari for a second 5-year term in June 2019.

“If anyone had told my parents that the small palm-oil business they were running at our hometown would produce a Central Bank Governor, I am sure they would have laughed the person off,” he said.

“When I look back at some of my peers in school who focused on other things besides hard work and dedication to excellence, I see a different turn in their journeys through life. For this and many other reasons, I remain eternally grateful to God and to my parents for the principles they imparted in me,” Emefiele said.