N26bn SME equity fund to be disbursed in Q4

The Central Bank of Nigeria and commercial banks in the country have said they will kick off the disbursement of the N26 billion equity fund set aside for the development of the agricultural Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) before the end of this quarter.

The fund which was agreed on by the Bankers Committee which consists of commercial banks in the country and regulators in the banking sector is a pool of funds from the profit of banks beginning from the 2016 financial year.

According to the Managing Director and Chief Executive of Unity Bank, Mrs. Oluwatomi Somefun, the framework for disbursing the fund which has been in the works since the beginning of the year has been finalised “and disbursement will commence by the end of this quarter 2017.”

The fund would be disbursed to agricultural SMEs as entity contribution and the disbursing lenders would also provide mentorship and hand-holding to benefiting ventures.

Also, the apex bank said it had commenced the disbursement of the N500 billion apex bank’s export intervention fund, which is different from the Export Expansion Grant of the federal government.

CBN Director, Banking Supervision, Ahmed Abdullahi, who disclosed this, stated that the SME equity fund and the export intervention fund was part of the drive of the apex bank to further spur economic activities in the country and attract more foreign exchange.

According to him, the introduction of the Investors and Exporters forex window has helped stabilised the country’s forex market and brought vibrancy to the equities market.

The value of the naira has been stable in recent times as the external reserves of the country accumulated.

The reserves last week had breached $33 billion as the 30-day moving average of the reserves stood at $33.112 billion as at October 12, 2017 according to latest data on the website of the apex bank.

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This shows a 28.12 per cent improvement over $25.84 billion which it was as at December 30, 2016.

The value of the naira at the parallel market had remained stable at N363 to the dollar while supply trend had seen the value of the currency move in either directions last week at the Investors and Exporters window.

The naira appreciated on the first two trading sessions during the week; closing at N360.50 to the dollar on Monday then rising to N360.31 on Tuesday before declining to N360.71 by mid-week.

It however marginally strengthened on Thursday to N360.52 following a 35.1 per cent daily jump in volume of transactions to $341.2 million.

By the close of business on Friday the naira closed at N360.43 at the I&E window, indicating a 21 kobo appreciation.

At the CBN window the naira had appreciated to N305 from N305.65 which it opened the week as the apex bank continued its interventions selling $195 million as part of its efforts to keep rates stable.

In the FMDQ OTC futures market, the total value of open contracts of the Naira settled OTC futures for the 12 instruments on the calendar stood at $3.1 billion as at Thursday 12th October, with theAPR 25 2018 enjoying the most level of subscription at a value of $517.3 million whilst the JUN 27 2018 instrument currently has the least subscription at a value of $17.3 million.

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