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Bank reforms affect private sector lending, Chairman

Chief John Odeyemi, Chairman,  Ecobank Plc, on Wednesday said that the ongoing reform in the banking sector and the non-passage of the budget was adversely affecting the private sector. Odeyemi, a former National President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, made the remark in Abuja while answering questions from newsmen.

He said the private sector misfortune was partially caused by the activities of the banks, which informed the ongoing reforms in the sector that was considered long overdue. Odeyemi noted that in the past six months when the CBN embarked on the reform, lending had ceased, while government was only able to implement the budget by about 50 per cent.

“This means that government is not spending, so the people are not getting what they should get, and the banks can”t spend because of the toxic assets and the direct influence of CBN on control of lending,” he added.

Odeyemi noted with regret that in spite of the unpalatable development, most banks had yet to meet the conditions of the CBN that would enable them to start lending fully. “You can therefore imagine the level of the constraints. Public funds are not coming, banks’ funds are not coming, and these are the two major sources of generating money for the economy,” he added.

Odeyemi urged the CBN to “heavily energise and persuade” the banks to move the economy forward. He declared: “The public needs to stop being docile. Stakeholders need to talk to their representatives in the National Assembly and the Executive so that money can move to all sectors of the economy.

That is why fuel crisis is the order of the day; housing development country-wide is stalled; agric and real sector financing to manufacturing is stalled. So, it’s a chicken and egg situation.”He urged government to do everything to ensure that the whole situation was normalised for the sake of the economy.


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