BusinessDay

OPS seeks CBN, banks collaboration on long term loan, FX

Nigeria’s Organised Private Sector (OPS) on Wednesday sought the collaboration of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the banking sector on long-term loan and foreign exchange availability for sustainable economic growth.

Other areas of collaboration include single-digit interest rates, purchase of capital equipment, and joint ventures.

Mansur Ahmed, president, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), said this at the first national stakeholders’ conference themed “promoting synergy between the banking industry and the organised private sector,” organised by the Association of Corporate Affairs Managers of Banks (ACAMB) in Lagos.

The OPS is a body that brings together key business management organisations such as MAN, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) and National Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), to speak for the continuous improvement on the business operating environment in the country.

Represented by Ambrose Chukwuma Oruche, director, corporate services, MAN, Ahmed said the availability of fund at a cheaper rate reduces the cost of production, improves the quality of outputs, or the efficiency with which inputs are transformed into outputs and contributes to the growth of the private sector in an economy and the multiplier effect will be poverty reduction; increase in per capita income, increase in the competitiveness of the country and by extension, economic growth.

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He noted that limited access to credit facilities, especially long-term funding and the high cost of funds has been one of the major hindrances to the growth of the private sector in Nigeria, leading to increased poverty, unemployment, insecurity, and stagnation of the economy.

“There is no doubt that industry needs the bank to increase investment and production while the bank needs the industry for interest payment incomes and equity subscription,” he said.

In response, Eboagwu Ezulu, deputy director, banking supervision department of the CBN, said there was trillions of naira available to be taken, adding that the banks are supposed to approach the CBN on behalf of their customers to access the funds. He was concerned that Nigeria has a long history of default. “People borrow with the intention not to pay back,” he said.

Ezulu encouraged the manufacturing sector to approach the Development Bank of Nigeria, which he said was established in collaboration with the CBN, as well as approach the Bank of Industry (BoI) for access to funds rather than emphasising the banks.

In his address, Rasheed Bolarinwa, ACAMB president, said the conference offered a unique platform for private sector players and the banking community to share perspectives on how the synergy, communication, cooperation and mutual understanding between these two critical segments of the Nigerian economy can be improved.

“The outlook of this stakeholder conference is essentially to develop a workable road map for the two sectors to synergies for the benefit of the national economy, ” he said.

According to him, finance, the essence of banking, is the driving force for the private sector. Capital is probably the primary factor of the factors of production. On the other side, the private sector, as the end users of banking services and the largest sector of the economy, is also conversely the driver of a sustainable and virile banking sector.

“So, I’d say there’s a symbiotic relationship between the two sectors. Banking is important to the private sector, just as the private sector is important to banks. That’s why ACAMB is calling for this synergistic dialogue,” Bolarinwa said.

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