The Bankers Committee of the Central Bank on Thursday declared that there was sufficient stock of foreign exchange to meet demands of all genuine bank customers in the country.
The Director, Banking Supervision, CBN, Ahmed Abdullahi, made this known at a press briefing held along some chief executive officers of banks shortly after the committee’s meeting in Lagos.
Abdullahi said, “The recent development in the forex market has led to prices turning downwards and convergence of rates and the positive effect of that on the economy. We have seen inflation trending downwards. There is a forecast that by the second quarter of this year, the economy will be out of recession and we are going to see positive growth.
“The fact is that the CBN has the arsenal in its war chest to be able to sustain what is happening in the forex market. That is why the CBN recently introduced new FX windows for the Small and Medium-scale Enterprises to access forex through their banks with minimum documentation.”
“There is also another initiative, the investor/exporter window, where it will be a market where prices will be determined by market forces, and it is a window that will allow investors to come in and trade their forex at a price they consider appropriate. Because of the convergence of rates, confidence is going to be built in the market so we are likely to see investors come in.
“In order to further build confidence, that is why we have this window that will enable them come in and improve the inflow of forex in the economy.”
“The committee has agreed to allow banks to use five per cent of their profits after tax to provide equity funding for SMEs and agricultural companies”.
“The important thing is the economy and the committee also emphasised the issue of financing the SMEs and agriculture, using five per cent of the banks’ profits. That will help in fast-tracking the process of the economy coming out of recession.
“So, the banks are determined to contribute five per cent of their profits to be used in providing equity funding for agriculture and all small-scale businesses in the export drive.”