Senate, CBN, Banks, Meet over Interest Rates

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Damilola Oyedele in Abuja

The Senate Committee on Banking, and Financial Institutions on Tuesday continued its meeting with officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and representatives of commercial banks over rising interest rates.

The meeting which held behind closed-doors with Senate President, Bukola Saraki, was on modalities to maintain a stable interest rate that would encourage sustainable business growth among small and medium enterprises.
The meeting also had in attendance the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun.

Briefing journalists at the end of yesterday’s session, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, said the interest, inflation and exchange rates must be properly managed to ensure a vibrant economy.

“All of us shared the sentiment that no matter what it takes, now that the exchange rate regime has stabilised, all hands must be on deck for us to achieve a better interest rate regime. We had a fruitful discussion and we are hopeful that once we continue to work hard as this, working together, we will achieve what is desirable for our economy to grow and make businesses survive and sustain their growth,” he said.

“Our thinking is very open. We have started the meeting before. We just wanted to listen to them, to work together and fast-track the processes for us to achieve a better interest rate regime. And from our discussion, everybody agreed that we must work on many of the indices, interventions and the meeting continues,” Ibrahim added.

The Chairman of the Committee on Finance, Senator John Owan Enoh, said the meeting would soon begin to yield fruit.
He commended Saraki for pushing for the meeting to discuss the interest rates as part of efforts by the Senate to ensure growth of small businesses and revive the economy.

“I think that this is one more moment that the Senate President has demonstrated leadership and I think that the benefits of the outcome of the meetings we have had will begin to show in the next couple of weeks and months in terms of how both the monetary and fiscal authorities are going to continue to corporate because all these issues that have been examined require their total corporation,” he said.