05 July 2013, Abuja – The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has set aside N220 billion for on-lending to micro, small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) across the country as part of efforts to integrate more people into the formal economy and enhance financial inclusion.
According to the apex bank, 60 per cent of the fund will be used to empower the womenfolk.
Uzoma Onuoha, deputy director, Development Finance Department of the CBN, who disclosed this in Umuahia, Abia State at the CBN seminar for business editors and finance correspondents, said that the fund will be launched next month (August).
The CBN hopes to reduce the size of the population presently excluded from the financial system from 46.3 per cent in 2010, to 20 per cent by 2020.
Already, some mileage has reduced to 39.7 per cent at the end of last year.
In his contribution at a panel discussion on the topic “strengthening and enhancing financial inclusion,” Prince Emeka Obasi, publisher of Hallmark Newspapers, said that financial empowerment of the populace is the prerequisite for financial inclusion.
According to him, “once a man is lifted out of poverty, he is included automatically. It is not a monetary but fiscal policy issue.”