Agricultural, manufacturing and the sectors considered as growth and employment stimulating, can now borrow long term as much as N10billion at consolidated nine per cent interest rate under new guidelines issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria. Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele The new credit policy called Guidelines for Accessing Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF) through CRR and Corporate Bonds was released by the CBN today.
And it marks a big departure from the excruciating interest rate regime of 25-30 per cent that has been blamed for stifling enterprises in the country. The CBN acting Director, Corporate Communications in a statement on Thursday in Abuja said the new directive aimed to increase the flow of credit to the real sector; agriculture and manufacturing. He said that Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) would henceforth be incentivised to direct affordable, long-term bank credit to the manufacturing, agriculture, as well as other sectors considered by the Bank as employment and growth stimulating.
He said also that Corporate, Triple-A rated companies would be encouraged to issue long-term Corporate Bonds (CBs). He said that a CBs Funding Programme had already been put in place to enable the CBN and the general public invest in the CBs. Furthermore, Okorafor said the Bank had put in place another programme under the Differentiated Cash Reserves Requirement (DCRR) Regime. He said under the programme, banks interested in providing Credit Financing to new and expansion projects in the real sector could request for the release of funds from their Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) to finance the projects.
Making further clarifications, Okorafor said that the tenor for the Differentiated CRR would be a minimum of seven years with a two-year moratorium. For the Corporate Bonds programme, he said the tenor and the moratorium would be specified in the prospectus by the issuing corporate. He said also that the maximum facility would be N10 billion per project and facilities were to be administered at an Interest rate of 9 per cent per annum. Okorafor therefore advocated for a total compliance with the guidelines by stakeholders.
He also reiterated CBN’s determination towards the encouragement of projects that would further enhance Nigeria’s import substitution strategies. The guidelines followed the recommendation of the CBN Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). At its 119th meeting held between 23 and 24 July, the MPC emphasised the need to increase the flow of credit to the real sector of the economy, to consolidate economic recovery.