Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has said it will increase the Cash Reserve Ratio, CRR, requirement if banks do not begin to increase lending to young graduates in Nigeria next year, even as it said it plans to unveil a new intervention fund targeted at young unemployed graduates.
Also, the Lagos state governor said the state is set to commence the disbursement of the N25 billion employment trust fund which it said would be given out at less than three per cent interest rate.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele made this known yesterday while speaking at the opening ceremony of the 7th Bankers Committee Retreat holding in Lagos.
Stating that the new scheme is asides the N220 billion Micro Small and Medium enterprises Development Fund, Emefiele said “if you the banks refuse to support, your money that we would have released through the CRR, we will take that money and lend it through any channel that will give these young graduates jobs.
“There is no need to release the money to you and all you do with the money is to buy treasury bills. It can’t continue.” According to him, there is need for banks to work together with the initiatives of the apex bank to support employment generating businesses.
Emefiele who noted that less than half of the N220 billion MSME Development Fund which was launched 2013 has so far been disbursed said “we would need the support of the banks to begin to see how do we lower sort of our risk acceptance criteria to give support to our young graduates.”
He further noted that in course of the next few weeks the apex bank will be unfolding a plan to create employment for at least one million young graduates in Nigeria in 2016. On his own part, the governor of Lagos state, Akinwunmi Ambode noted that the legislative process of inaugurating the Employment Trust Fund Board of Trustees will soon be concluded. “As a government, we are committing N25 billion in the next three years to this employment trust fund and it is like an intervention fund of which we believe strongly that the interest that we are going to charge will not be more than three percent.”
On her own part, the Minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun noted that the country is going through a hard period but will only be able to overcome its challenges if there is support to grow the SME sector which she says contributes up to 50 per cent to the GDP of the country.

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