The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, on Thursday directed that all charges on deposits should be stopped with immediate effect.Emefiele gave this directive at a news briefing to unveil his policy for the apex bank in Abuja.
“We have become aware of the complaints by customers regarding the charges being imposed for cash deposits.
“The complaints have resulted in customers devising various means to avoid the charges through opening of multiplicity of accounts and other behaviours aimed at undermining the objective of the policy.
“Given these outcomes and to better reflect our goal of having more cash under our control, all charges on deposits are hereby stopped with immediate effect,’’ Emefiele said.
He said that charges on withdrawals, in view of their eventual elimination would remain at three per cent for individual transactions exceeding N500,000 and five per cent for corporate transactions exceeding N3 million.
According to him, currently, the fees go entirely to the commercial banks and should be determined by the CBN.
“However, going forward, the CBN shall determine what percentage of these fees on excess drawings would be redeemed by the bank while the rest shall be remitted to the CBN,’’ he said.
On development finance, he said the CBN would act as a financial catalyst by targeting predetermined sectors that could create jobs on a mass scale and significantly reduce the country’s import bills.
“ The CBN will deploy developmental initiatives to create an enabling environment with appropriate incentives to empower innovative entrepreneurs to drive growth and development.
“The CBN will not be targeting individual companies rather specific sectors and establish rules and criteria that will enable anyone fairly qualified to benefit from the scheme.
“Some of the CBN’s developmental functions will include credit allocation and direct intervention in key sectors of the economy such as power, agriculture, MSME, oil and gas and health,’’ he said.
Emefiele said the funding of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country had largely been viewed from a social development perspective with the goal of reducing poverty through job creation and wealth.
“We have proposed a business approach to funding SMEs, which requires the strong involvement of the private sector.
“The new framework proposed will combine the profit motives of the private sector and the development objectives of the government.
“It proposes a structure that enables the government to leverage the project selection and credit analysis processes of private sector investors who will place more of their resources at risk in funding the SMEs.
“While the private sector invests more of their risk capital in the selected companies, CBN will focus on resolving challenges such as access to collateral, enterprise development support among others,’’ Emefiele said.
The CBN boss said that aside collaborating private sector, the CBN would also design a programme for Nigerians who need as low as N50,000 without collaterals through registered and accredited local cooperatives.
He said that the bank would encourage venture capital companies and business angels to fund SMEs and invite the Banker’s Committee to play more active role in supporting SMEs.
On agriculture, Emefiele said the CBN would revisit the goals and implementation of its intervention programmes in the agricultural sector to ensure high value addition and provision of funds.
“Interventions in the sector will now be driven toward improving productivity in areas with high domestic demand, where opportunities exist to improve domestic supply and foreign exchange conservation.
“The CBN will facilitate the creation of an ecosystem that will identify and link various local producers and processors with major importers of selected products.
“With the expected increase in local production, identified major importers would be encouraged to act as off-takers to local producers,’’ Emefiele said.
On power sector, he said: “given CBN’s mandate, there is an important role the CBN must play to ensure the success of the power sector reforms.’’
“We will facilitate investment in key parts of the value chain by providing funds at concession rates to targeted investments in the power sector.
“We will encourage investment in the gas to power infrastructure to improve the reliability of supply of gas to the existing and new power plants.
“We will also support investments in renewable energy in rural areas through matching funds schemes, and providing first loss guarantees,’’ Emefiele said.