…As Emefiele expresses unwavering commitment to interventions
Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, inaugurated the Lafia Branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria in what the Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said was part of his team’s determination to take the bank’s interventions closer to the people.
According to the CBN boss, the Branch Office would also help in the pursuit of CBN’s vigorous financial inclusion campaign.
His words, “As a people-oriented Central Bank, our commitment to ensuring financial inclusion remains unwavering, hence, we believe that having a replica of offices of the Central Bank in State capitals will help support the Bank’s goal of taking our well-thought central banking services and interventions nearing those at the grassroots.
“Our unflinching belief that every Nigerian deserves an opportunity to contribute their quota to our country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), necessitated our development of initiatives such as the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP); the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF); the Agri-Business/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AgSMEIS); the Tertiary Institutions’ Entrepreneurship Scheme (TIES) and lately, the 100 for 100 Policy on Production and Productivity and the Race to $200 Billion FX Repatriation (RT200) among others.
“These are some of the interventions that speak directly to accessibility to finance for women, youth and those at the grassroots as well as deepening the export potential of Nigerian businesses.”
Mr. Emefiele said that the opening of the Lafia Branch was exceptional, being the first to be commissioned by President Buhari.
“The opening of this edifice today is an occasion of exceptional significance for us, given the fact that it is the first Branch of the CBN to be inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“What we behold today is the culmination of several years of hard work, using mainly local content, in line with the Administration’s resolve to promote the utilisation of Nigerian resources and services as a way of enhancing the capabilities of our indigenous people without having to compromise quality, safety, health or environmental standards.
“Furthermore, the construction of the Lafia Branch is pursuant to the Federal Government’s statutory requirement for the presence of a Central Bank of Nigeria in every State of the Federation, for currency and business transactions by government agencies and corporate entities in Nasarawa State,” he said.
According to the CBN boss, the complex was completed on August 13, 2021. It comprises the Main and Ancillary Buildings spread out with parking lots, fuel dump and security posts, water storage and treatment plants.
He revealed that the main building, occupying an area of 3206.58sq. meters, comprises four floors including a basement floor total 8000sqm. These floors consist of well finished office spaces for staff, equipment, storage as well as the installation of mechanical and electrical services, and parking spaces to accommodate 100 cars for both visitors and staff.
Mr. Emefiele said that the bank has also developed branch buildings in eight other state capitals, including : Abakaliki, Ado-Ekiti, Birnin-Kebbi, Dutse, Gusau and Yenagoa, while those at Jalingo and Damaturu would be completed soon.
He said that the construction of the branch offices were pursuant to the federal government’s statutory requirement for the presence of a CBN in every state of the federation.
Mr. Mohammed Umoru, the Executive Director, Finance and Accounts of Qunitec Limited, the contractor that handled building, thanked the CBN for choosing a local firm for the construction of the edifice.
He said, “He said, “This complex was awarded to us some years back as an indigenous company. The story we are here to tell today is simple: we can do it. What we have today is a testimony to that submission.
“We are awarded the contract and we took it headlong as a challenge. We have been able to deliver. Everybody is happy over it.
“You ask about challenges. Challenges are part of life. In a project of this nature, you can’t rule out challenges. So many unpredictable things would certainly crop up; social and political.
“However, the bottom line is, everything was overcome and we surmounted the challenges with the assistance of CBN to be able to deliver this project.”