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CBN targets 94% financial inclusion by 2024



… Disburses over 149b COVID-19 loans

THE Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, has urged Nigerians to harness the benefits of the underlying crypto technology to benefit the economy just as the apex bank has set 94 per cent financial inclusion target for Nigeria by 2024.

  Emefiele stated this at the weekend in his virtual address declaring open the 30th Seminar for Finance Correspondents and Business Editors in Lagos.

  Represented by the Deputy Governor in Charge of Corporate Services, Edward Adamu, Emefiele, charged the nation to build a solid digital economy by focusing on digital infrastructure such as internet connectivity, digital literacy and skills, digital financial services, digital platforms and digital entrepreneurship and innovation to drive growth, explaining that CBN did not place any new restrictions on the use of crypto currency in Nigeria, said that “our recent directive only amplified an earlier regulation on the subject of cryptocurrency.”

  “However, our policy stand does not preclude Nigerians from harnessing the benefits of the underlying technology that support crypto transactions, which is a distributed ledger, commonly referred to as blockchain. There are several examples where blockchain technology has been used to facilitate and improve transparency in the settlement of trade transactions. Our regulatory sandbox is available for fintech companies to explore the use of blockchain technology in areas that would be beneficial to the Nigerian economy,” he said.

  Meanwhile, announcing the new financial inclusion target during his virtual presentation, its  Director, Payments System Management Department, Mr Musa Itopa Jimoh, said the aim of the old financial inclusion target was to raise the number of those who are outside the system into the financial system by 80 per cent in 2020,” In other words, we wanted to reduce exclusion rate to 20 per cent by the year 2020.

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  Similarly, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has disbursed N149.21 billion to 316,869 households to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  The funds were given out in the first phase of the N150 billion Targeted Credit Facility (TCF), disbursed through the NIRSAL Microfinance Bank after the beneficiaries met set guidelines for the intervention fund.

  CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this at a media interactive programme in Lagos at the weekend, said the resounding success of the scheme and its positive impact on output growth, has prompted the apex bank  to double the fund to N300 billion.

  The second phase of N150 billion is to kickoff at yet to be announced date  with each qualified household expected to access a maximum of N3 million at five to nine per cent interest rate depending on the loan purpose.

  Emefiele, who was represented by Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Edward Lametek, said the move to accommodate more beneficiaries and boost consumer expenditure would stimulate the economy.

  He said that in line with the growing need to go digital, the application process is done online and requires limited paperwork from prospective applicants.

  The apex bank said loan disbursements were also based on the activity, cash flow, and industry size of the beneficiaries while the loan facility will run for a maximum of three years and repayment will be made on an installment basis.

  “Given the impact on COVID-19 on key economic variables earlier mentioned, the fiscal and monetary authorities took unprecedented measures to prevent any long-term damage to the growth prospects of our economy,” he said.

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  The CBN boss said there is  one-year extension of the moratorium on principal repayments for CBN intervention facilities and regulatory forbearance was granted to banks to restructure loans given to sectors that were severely affected by the pandemic.

  Part of the conditions precedent to approval and drawdown is that households must agree to allow the NIRSAL Microfinance Bank (NMFB) Credit Unit assess their financial records and estimate the impact of COVID-19 on their income. Applicants must also present evidence of opportunity cost and justify their numbers.

  Also, all applicants should possess a valid means of identification such as a national Identity Card, driver’s license, voter’s card or international passport, as well as a valid Bank Verification Number (BVN).

  Any Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) interested in the scheme can obtain loans ranging from N3 million to N25 million.

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