International Finance Corporation IFC, a member of the World Bank, on Tuesday said that the corporation’s investment in Nigeria banking sector stood at 1.2 billion dollars N237.6 billion.
Mrs Eme Essien Lore, the Country Manager, IFC Nigeria, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria NAN, in Lagos.
She said that the corporation’s commitment in the banking system in the last fiscal year, from July 2014 to June 2015, exceeded 1.2 billion dollars.
Lore told NAN that the support was in long and short-term financing, adding that the corporation would continue to support the country’s financial industry.
She said that IFC’s effort was beyond providing financing, noting that building financial infrastructure was critical to ensuring more Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises MSMEs, accessed finance.
Lore said that the corporation supported the creation of the Credit Bureau Association of Nigeria and is working with them on a regulatory framework for credit reporting.
“We are looking forward to launching the movable assets collateral registry with CBN.
“Around the world, we have seen that a solid secured transactions system is a critical success factor in providing access to finance to MSMEs,’’ Lore said.
She said that IFC was also working with the apex bank on an Environmental Performance and market development programme to achieve increased uptake of sustainable lending standards by financial institutions in Nigeria.
“The programme is a long term intervention to drive standards at a market level to support improved sustainable lending practices of financial institutions and ultimately improved social and environmental performance of financial institutions.’’
She expressed confidence in the nation’s financial system, noting that Nigerian banks were better suited to withstand external shocks than they were in 2008.
“Nigerian banks have come a long way since the 2008/2009 crises with improvements in risk management practices and governance structures.
“The current macro-economic environment will be challenging for any country but, despite the room for improvement, Nigerian banks are much better suited to withstand external shocks than they were in 2008,’’ Lore said.
Construction companies lose 70,000 workers to economic downturn
No fewer than 70,000 workers in the construction industry have been out of jobs due to the economic decline and inadequate development of infrastructure in the country.
President, National Union of Civil Engineering Construction, Furniture and Wood Workers, NUCECFWW, Mr. Amechi Asugwuni, confirmed this to the News Agency of Nigeria NAN, on Tuesday in Lagos.
According to Asugwuni, 60 to 70,000 workforces in the construction companies are out of jobs because there are no major ongoing capital projects in the country.
NAN reports that the recent lull in the sector had necessitated a massive layoff of workers in both the Asian and Nigerian-owned construction companies.
NAN gathered that workers in the industry in the last three months have been grumbling over salary cuts.
The union president said that except there was an immediate reactivation of abandoned projects, it would be difficult for the companies to keep their workers.
“There is no way the government can create jobs without focusing on infrastructure development.
“It is sad that job creation is not feasible because there are no ongoing projects.
The few existing jobs are actualized.
This is not good for the growth of the economy.
“Casual workers do not pay tax and tax is part of what is used for the development of infrastructure.
“ Lack of infrastructure development is a minus for the country’s quest to create jobs and grow the economy,’’ Asugwuni said.
He criticised the infrastructural deficit in the country and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to address the problem in order to curb crime and reduce poverty in the country.
NAN reports that some of the construction companies such as the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation CCECC, are always feeling the hit of the recession.
Since August 2009 when the CCECC began the construction of the 10-Lane Lagos/Badagry expressway that the workers have occasionally protested over what they described as “unlawful sack and poor wages’’.
Also in Julius Berger Plc, the chairman, AVM Mohammed Imam (rtd.), at the company’s 45th Annual General Meeting in Abuja, said that there was a decline of seven per cent in the company’s turnover.
He said that the present position of the company had led to it announcing a reduction in its turnover from N212.7 billion in 2013 to N196.808 billion in the 2014 financial year.

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