By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
The Export and Investors Window of the Foreign Exchange (FX) market has raked in $4 billion since it was created by the central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN), in May.
This was announced by the Bankers’ Committee, at the end of its meeting in Abuja, Thursday.
CBN’s Director of Banking Supervision, Mr. Ahmed Abdullahi briefed the press on the outcome of the meeting.
According the director who was briefed the press along with some operators including the Managing Director of Union Bank, Mr. Emeka Emuwa, the economic indices showed that the economy could have come out of recession based on non-oil sector growth in the second quarter.
On the FX, he said, “you would recall that the CBN set up an Export and Investors’ Window was set up in May. And it was very interesting, when we were going through the meeting t day, the fact was given to us today, that so far, the volume of the trading that had gone on in that window is about $ 4 billion and that is quite a good number.
“It shows that the banks have done a lot of rallying. It shows that the banks have been resilient. Iot show that the banks have contributed largely in bringing in FDIs, as much as possible to come into the market.
“In fact there was particularly single ticket that was done on the August 1, a transaction of $240 million. So we think that things will be looking up and we are quite hopeful that things are going in the right direction.”
On coming out of recession, Mr. Abdullahi said, “We observed that this economy is coming out of recession. There is this belief that the second quarter of the year has seen the year has seen the economy emerging out of recession.
“The reason of the belief is that the major non-oil sectors of the economy have witnessed growth .
“Although the numbers are not yet out from the National Bureau of statistics, but the fact that major non-oil sectors have witnessed positive growth and because growth in this economy is driven largely by non-oil sectors, a number of analysts believe that the economy could have been out of recession by the second quarter of 2017.
“We await the number from the NBS but there is this strong belief and if you look at the confidence in the economy , if you look at the capital market, if you look at the stability in the foreign exchange market, you will know that a lot of progress has been made in getting the economy out of recession.
“This is a very useful development because it is going to have a positive ripple effects on the banking sector as well as other sectors of the economy. So the bankers’ Committee generally expressed its delight with this development in the economy.
Mr. Emuwa, disclosed that members of the public can now access the Agriculture and Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Fund, as its board has been inaugurated and a Project Review Committee put in place.
His words, “Those who are interested in accessing such funds or looking for equity to support their agriculture or their SME should approach their banks now apply so that their banks can do their preliminary reviews and pass such request on to the Project review committee of this organization.”
The board consists of the Managing Directors of the following banks: Guaranty Trust, Access, First Bank, Zenith, UBA, as well as, CBN Directors of Banking Supervision and Development Finance.
It also has a Project Review Committee comprising FCMB, Unity, Sterling Banks.
The Small and Medium Enterprises Equity Investment scheme is a voluntary initiative of the Bankers’ Committee. The initiative was in response to the Federal Government’s concerns and policy measures for the promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as vehicles for rapid industrialisation, sustainable economic development, poverty alleviation and employment generation.
The Scheme requires all banks in Nigeria to set aside ten (10) percent of their Profit After Tax (PAT) for equity investment and promotion of small and medium enterprises. The 10% of the Profit After Tax (PAT) to be set aside annually shall be invested in small and medium enterprises as the banking industry’s contribution to the Federal Government’s efforts towards stimulating economic growth, developing local technology and generating employment.
The funding to be provided under the scheme will be in the form of equity investment in eligible enterprises