•Unveils framework for advancing women’s financial inclusion
By Obinna Chima
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has put the total amount it has injected across the various sectors in the economy as part of efforts to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 at N670 billion, out of the N3.5 trillion stimulus package it had proposed.
The Director, Development Finance Department, CBN, Mr. Yila Yusuf, disclosed this last night during an interview on ArisExchange, a programme monitored on ARISE NEWS Channel.
This is coming as the apex bank has unveiled a, “Framework for Advancing Women’s Financial Inclusion in Nigeria,” to build upon the 2018 National Financial Inclusion Strategy (Revised).
“The central bank released a stimulus package worth N3.5 trillion and as we speak today, we have provided funding in excess of N670 billion across various sectors,” he said.
Yila listed the sectors that benefitted from the fund to include agriculture, manufacturing and services. According to him, the agriculture sector was allocated 40 per cent of the amount; manufacturing – 33 per cent and services – 27 per cent.
For agriculture, he said the intervention included the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, which is the major food programme of the federal government where he said the apex bank has so far disbursed in excess of N180 billion for the wet season.
“And we are planning for the dry season. As you are aware, there were floods in some parts of the north-west and so it is important that we do a major intervention during the dry season. It is going to be the largest that has been done so far in the country. In construction, there are some many projects going on at the free trade zones and the same thing in services. We are really trying to keep jobs, promote production and enhance supply,” he explained.
He said the central bank is deploying both conventional and unconventional monetary policy tools to fight the impact of the pandemic on households and businesses.
“All over the world, such tools are being used. What we did as a central bank was to: reduce interest rates on all our interventions from nine per cent to five per cent; we granted regulatory forbearance on certain loans and we did target funding to various sectors.
“To keep businesses running, we started with the N50 billion targeted facility, which Governor Emefiele has increased to N100 billion. As we speak, we have disbursed in excess of N73 billion. We also provided N1 trillion for manufacturing. So, our interventions are focused on keeping jobs and promote production,” he added.
He said the central bank was focused on price stability, to encourage domestic production and ensuring that there is a lot of output.
“So, funding has to be provided at a time like this when the pandemic is ravaging the world. A lot of countries have gone into the protectionist mood and if you look at agriculture, countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and others that are traditionally food exporters are keeping all their food in their silos. So, we really need to bridge that gap.
“One of the things the central bank has done, working with the ecosystem is to look at how to improve yields. Traditionally for maize, we are doing around two to three metric tonnes per hectare and we are looking at how to improve that to five metric tonnes, to be able to cover that gap,” he added.
Meanwhile, the central bank has unveiled a, “Framework for Advancing Women’s Financial Inclusion in Nigeria.”
It explained in the document posted on its website that the framework builds upon the 2018 National Financial Inclusion Strategy (Revised).
The framework carves out the barriers of particular importance to women, laying out eight strategic imperatives and related recommendations with the greatest potential for addressing these barriers, it added.
According to the report, in March 2018, the National Financial Inclusion Special Intervention Working Group (a working group under the National Financial Inclusion Governance structure) constituted a subcommittee to look into gender-related financial inclusion issues and propose recommendations for addressing the high exclusion rates among women in Nigeria.
“One key recommendation of the sub-committee was to develop a comprehensive framework that provides a guide and blueprint for women’s financial inclusion.
This framework is the outcome of the gender sub-committees’ work and follow-up work by the CBN and Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA).
“It builds upon the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (Revised) (October 2018), and integrates valuable insights from the Assessment of Women’s Financial Inclusion in Nigeria (December 2019). This framework takes as an additional reference point Nigeria’s Sustainable Banking Principles, which promote women’s economic empowerment through a gender inclusive workplace culture in business operations and seek to provide products and services designed specifically for women.
“Alongside these national reference points, the framework is based on what is considered international best practice in advancing women’s financial inclusion.”