As part of efforts towards reducing the unemployment rate in Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is set to unveil a low interest loan scheme for over one million graduates in the country.
CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele
Punch reports that the scheme is a collaboration between the CBN and commercial banks in Nigeria in a bid to diversify the economy and reduce the high rate youth employment.
The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele who made this known on Thursday, December 10, during the opening ceremony of the seventh bankers committee retreat maintained that it will boost Micro, Small and Medium scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.
He said: “In the course of the next few weeks, we will be unfolding a plan of support of the CBN to create employment for at least one million young graduates in Nigeria in 2016. That will entail support from Nigerian banks and our development institutions to see how we will channel concessionary loans to companies that are Micro, Small and Medium scale Enterprises (MSMEs),” he added.
Emefiele described SMEs as a vital component in the growth of any economy. He blamed the current economic problems Nigeria is facing on the over dependence on oil and the down turn of oil price in the commodity market.
He said, “The drop in commodity prices is a major thing that has affected the country. What that means is that your revenue has dropped and we are facing very serious pressure on our external reserves and exchange rate. What that does is that we all need to think about how we should come together and see what we can do as a people to shield ourselves from what is happening. So, we need to do whatever we can to protect the economy.
“We are entering a phase where we believe that the Small, Medium Enterprises (SMEs) must be the only priority for growth in our economy. I must say that the Nigerian banking sector has not played an active part in supporting the SMEs, but this is not without reasons. We had issues in the past where people took loans and didn’t pay.
“The SMEs are seen as drivers of growth in any economy. Nigeria has 37 MSMEs. The CBN has a N220 billion MSME facility. We have used various approaches to stimulate lending to the SMEs through that fund and I must confess that we are not doing enough on that because less than half of that fund has been disbursed today.”
The minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun reiterated government efforts towards the growth the Nigerian economy.