- 30 Percent of Forex Spent on Fuel Imports
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, on Friday said that 30 per cent of the Nigeria’s demand for foreign exchange was for fuel importation.
Adeosun stated this in Lagos at the launch of “FirstGem” , a product of First Bank of Nigeria Ltd., aimed at empowering women through wealth creation.
She said that government was working very hard to transform the country from consumption driven to investment driven nation.
Adeosun said that it was disheartening that Nigeria exports crude oil and imports petroleum.
She said that the Federal Government was committed at rebuilding the country’s infrastructure to boost local production for job creation.
She said, “If we have an enabling infrastructure such as power, roads , among others, cost of doing business in Nigeria will reduce drastically.”
She said that government would continue to improve the country’s competitiveness through the provision of basic amenities.
The finance minister said that funds borrowed by the government would be tied to capital projects to boost infrastructure development.
She stated that government revenue had reduced due to drop in the price of oil at the global market.
She said, “Its a difficult time but we will get out of it. We will survive and get better. Nigeria is tough but we are very resilient.”
Speaking on the FirstGem product, Adeosun said that women were very critical to the country’s development.
She said that women needed to be financially independent as they represent 52 per cent of the country’s population, adding that, 70 per cent SMEs operators were women.
The minister, who commended the bank for introducing the product, noted that FirstGem would help women to show track record of success that would make banks to offer them funds to grow their businesses.
Adeosun stated that women must learn to save and stick with their budget in order to prepare for tough times, noting that, women must not spend all their monies on consumables.
She said, “Women have to open their eyes, your children are not your pension because it doesn’t work any more.”
Also speaking, the wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, who was the special guest of honour, commended the bank for the product aimed at empowering women.
Osinbajo urged women to take advantage of the product and empower themselves, noting that, recession had opened up a lot of opportunities that were yet to be tapped.
The Chairman, Board of Directors, First Bank of Nigeria Ltd., Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, said that the product was introduced to support and make women more financially responsible to be good entrepreneurs.
She added that the given country was going through tough times and women needed to wake up in order to support their families.
She said, “We want to ensure that women stand on their own when the need arises, its time for the women to wake up and must not be a liability.
“We want to use the product to challenge the mind of women to save and have the capacity to stand on their own.”
The FBN Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Adesola Adeduntan, said the significant role of women in economic development was not debatable.
Adeduntan said that FirstGem was initiated in order to empower more women to contribute their quota to economic development.
He said, “When women thrive the whole society benefits because there will be sustainable growth.”
COVID-19, Security Issues Slow Down Financial Inclusion Program -CBN Report
CBN Says COVID-19 and Insecurities Slow Down Financial Inclusion Program for 2020
A report released on Monday by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access has revealed that Nigeria is far behind in its pursuit of financial inclusion target for the year.
In the report titled “Assessment of women’s financial inclusion in Nigeria” for December 2019 period released yesterday, September 28, 2020, financial exclusion stands at 36 percent for women while it stood at 24 percent for men.
However, despite the decline in the financial exclusion of women, the report noted that financial inclusion has not really improved and the gap between women and men has grown due to COVID-19 and insecurities in the North part of the country.
Also, the report noted that the financial inclusion gap between women and men in Nigeria stood at 20 to 30, placing the nation below its peers.
The report reads in part, “Not surprisingly, financial exclusion stands at 36 per cent for women and 24 per cent for men.
“The relative gender gap related to financial inclusion is ~20-30 per cent, placing Nigeria below its peers.
“Since 2012, although women’s exclusion has dropped, the gender gap has grown, revealing that men’s inclusion has improved more rapidly than women’s.
“The National Financial Inclusion Strategy was launched in 2012 to reduce financial exclusion to 20 per cent of the adult population.
“However, according to the revised NFIS, Nigeria is not on track to achieve its 2020 targets.”
The report added that the progress towards a broad-based financial inclusion had been slowed down enormously by a series of unforeseen socioeconomic factors, the security situation in Northern Nigeria, COVID-19 and slow adoption of digital financial services.
Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), Huawei Ink Partnership Agreement to Promote Tech-Driven Financial Inclusion, Fintech Capacity Building
Partnership seeks to promote tech-led financial inclusion as well as Fintech ICT Capacity; The two organizations have convened a summit on ICT and financial inclusion.
The Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) has signed a collaboration agreement with tech-firm Huawei-Kenya that seeks to deepen financial inclusion in the banking sector through further deployment of technology and building fintech capacity.
In the partnership, KBA will work closely with Huawei-Kenya to spearhead industrywide capacity building initiatives aimed at promoting knowledge on financial technology innovation, digital transformation, and other ICT-related programmes in the banking industry.
Under the partnership, KBA and Huawei will also aim to promote financial inclusion activities in line with the KBA Strategic Plan for the period 2020 to 2023. Launched last year, the Plan seeks to promote access to affordable financial services through tech-aided operational efficiency.
Speaking during the signing of the agreement, KBA Chief Executive Officer Dr. Habil Olaka said the cooperation would go a long way in promoting the delivery of efficient banking services in Kenya through knowledge-sharing programmes that will be organized by the two institutions.
“This partnership will further focus on research and knowledge-sharing activities, which will supplement the research initiatives that continue to be spearheaded by the Association’s Centre for Research Financial on Markets and Policy®. In this regard, the collaboration will certainly augment KBA’s and member banks’ knowledge base in engagements with diverse stakeholders from a fact-based perspective,’’ Dr. Olaka added.
The partnership comes on the heels of the the 2020 edition of the Huawei-KBA Online FSI Summit slated for 30th September this Year. The forum is among the initiatives Huawei and KBA are jointly implementing to promote the delivery of efficient banking services through technology under the cooperation agreement.
Huawei-Kenya Chief Executive Officer Mr. Will Meng welcomed the partnership, saying technology will remain a core driver towards enhancing convenient access to financial services in light of disruptive occurrences such as the ongoing Coronavirus Disease pandemic.
‘’The theme of the upcoming summit is ‘’Building Banking Core Competence through Digital Transformation to Accelerate Inclusive Finance’’. It is one of the initiatives we are rolling out in Kenya in partnership with the Association to ensure we optimally leverage on technology to achieve affordable and accessible financial services in the regional economy,’’ said Mr. Lee.
The summit comes at a time when the global economy is coping with the impact of the Coronavirus Disease. Dr. Olaka noted that the banking industry has continued to tap into the potential of technology to uphold business continuity and supporting customers, a culmination of efficient deployment of technology by the banking sector during this period.
“Beyond the COVID-19 disruption, we see technology as an invaluable enabler of financial inclusion. I have no doubt that the summit along with the KBA-Huawei collaboration will play a significant role in our collective efforts to entrench technology in our operations and sustain our contribution to the national development agenda,’’ Dr. Olaka said.
CBN Pursues Expansionary Monetary Policy to Boost Output and Moderate Inflation
CBN Says it Lowered Interest Rates to Use Expansionary Monetary Policy Boost Output and Moderate Rising Inflation
Following the shocking reduction in the monetary policy rate by 100 basis points to 11.5 percent, the Central Bank of Nigeria has explained the reason for such a decision after months of saying no.
The Governor of the apex bank, Godwin Emefiele said the central bank is pursuing an expansionary monetary policy to abate pressure, up economic productivity and then use expected improved in aggregate supply to moderate the rising inflation rate.
Emefiele said this was necessary to address likely recesssion and contain the rising inflation rate.
He said, “The committee was therefore of the view that to abate the pressure, it had no choice but to pursue an expansionary monetary policy using development finance policy tools, targeted at raising output and aggregate supply to moderate the rate of inflation.
“At present, fiscal policy is constrained and so cannot, on its own, lift the economy out of contraction or recession, given the paucity of funds arising from weak revenue base, current low crude oil prices, lack of fiscal buffers and high burden of debt services.
“Therefore, monetary policy must continue to provide massive support through its development finance activities to achieve growth in the Nigerian economy.”
According to the governor, Monetary Policy Committee members were confronted with a policy dilemma after the economy contracted by 6.10 percent in the second quarter and expected to dip again into recession in the second quarter.
“It is, therefore, of the view that, if a recession occurs in Q3, the committee would be confronted with proposing policy options in a period of stagflation,” he added.
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