The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has frowned at commercial banks in Nigeria for failing to educate people about the recently launched e-Naira platform.
Officials of the bank who were in Kaduna on Wednesday to lecture youth corps members and hundreds of students from various tertiary institutions across the state and other members of the public on “on-boarding of stakeholders on the e-Naira platform”, explained the operational benefits of the electronic currency.
Head of Finance Department of the CBN, Aminu Muhammad, and an Assistant Director, said financial institutions that are under the purview of the CBN are supposed to play critical roles in growing the economy.
Speaking at the CBN Fair held in Kaduna, Muhammad complained that the commercial banks were not effective on issues relating to the e-Naira.
According to him, “They are lagging behind and that is why the CBN is coming in to intervene. For example, the information asymmetry like what we saw when they were talking about the e-Naira in Kano. Kaduna people had that awareness earlier, unlike in Kano, which is because of information asymmetry.”
He lamented that, “all the banks knew about e-Naira but members of the public do not know. Some people probably might be hearing it for the first time. There is imbalance of information as regards the e-Naira, and that is why the CBN has come out to sensitize the public, give people the opportunity to come in so as to block that information asymmetry.”
Muhammed said another reason for their intervention was because there was lack of appropriate financing products and services in the banks.
He recalled that before they started intervening in the agricultural sector, a sector that has so many risks, the banks were forced to lend certain limited percentage to agriculture because they don’t want to go there.
“The banks don’t want to develop products that will be talking to agriculture. Even with the percentages given to them and enforcing it, they are still not doing it.”
Speaking further, he said if an examiner went to the banks and checked, they have a way of doing it.
“You will see the books, you will see the name of borrower but at the end of the day, the money will not really go to the agriculture. So that is the reason CBN is intervening by bringing out products appropriate for Nigerians.”
Another reason he said was “lack of useable collateral, saying almost 90% of those in micro, small and medium enterprises do not have collateral to offer to the banks as security. When the banks are in operation to make profits, they would not want to give loans that are not collateralized.”
He said in fact the CBN would even penalise them for that. “So, most of the interventions that we have under the CBN, the collateral requirement is minimal, in some cases even none. The small holder farmer doesn’t require any collateral to access the intervention from CBN.”