Tackling Poverty in Kano

Central Bank of Nigeria and Kano State government sign agreement to enable the state benefit from Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund

|  By Maureen Chigbo  |  Dec. 16, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

KANO is the first of all the 36 states of the federation to benefit from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund, MSMEDF. The CBN has earmarked N220 billion for the MSMEDF which it launched recently to fill the gap created by the microfinance, which it said proved to be more expensive for the common man. The Kano State Government and the CBN signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, to that effect last week.

At the MoU agreement signing ceremony held at the Government House in Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, CBN governor, said that the State was the first to express interest to access the fund. He explained that the CBN,  in its bid to carry those at the grassroots along, amended the guidelines of the MSMDF to accommodate State governments in recognition of their strategic role in grassroots economic development. He added that a State can only access a maximum of N2 billion, which can be lent to their PFIs through the correspondent banks.

Sansui expressed gladness at the commitment demonstrated by the Kano State Government in terms of economic development, noting that it was the first to apply to have as many as 37 microfinance banks. “There is always something new in Kano. The State is either opening a hospital, an institute or a fund”, he added.  The money from the MSMDF which the State applied to access was meant to be lent to the rural people who are into small scale business. They are expected to subsidise the loans for the people.

Sanusi urged directors of the microfinance banks in the State to lend the money and train the loanees on how to grow and nurture their businesses. CBN had already engaged the services of a company that will train microfinance banks on how to develop the skills of the small scale rural business people.

An elated Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, governor of Kano State, said the Dan Majen Kano was a blessing to the people of the State as he was always there to help the State fight poverty by developing its economy. “It was shocking to discover that some local government did not have a microfinance bank,” Kwankwaso said and thanked Sanusi for helping the state sign agreements with the Bank of Industry, BoI and Bank of Agriculture, BoA, all in an effort to boost the commercial activities of the state. Present at the event were directors of Development Finance Department; Consumer Protection Department and Corporate Communications Department. All the Commissioners in Kano State were also present.

In a related development,, Sanusi, took the campaign for cash-less policy to the people of Kano State, when he attended the closing ceremony of the State’s 34th International Trade Fair on Wednesday, December 4. Speaking in Hausa, Sanusi urged the people to support the reforms being introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as those by the Kano State Chamber of Commerce Mines and Agriculture, KACCIMA. Although he admitted that there were some difficulties are associated with the reforms, Sanusi added that the benefits of the reforms far outweighed any of the associated difficulties if they were fully embraced.

Citing examples of countries in other climes where transactions are done using cards, the CBN governor said Nigerians too must avail themselves of the opportunities introduced by the bank to do their transactions using their cards. He added that Point-Of-Sale, PoS, machines were easy to operate. “PoS can be used by everybody who can read his or herr name. The rest is taken care of by one’s finger prints.. That is all it takes,” Sanusi assured the cheering audience.

The governor allayed the fears of the people on using PoS, saying that the objective of the cash-less policy was to help people secure their savings as well as their financial transactions. He disclosed that successes are being recorded in Lagos, where the policy was first launched. He said that in one day alone, PoS transactions in Lagos was to the tune of N3 billion, while there are about 150.000 PoS machines in the State. He also urged the people to take the opportunity of the mobile banking as well as the agent banking, both alternatives introduced by the CBN.

Earlier, Sanusi went round the pavilions, beginning with the Bank’s own pavilion where he sought to know about the functionality of some of the machines on display there. He later moved to the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, pavilion and rounded-off at the Dangote pavilion. Sansui was accompanied to the closing ceremony by his uncle, Abbas Sanusi,  the Wambai of Kano and Secretary to the Kano Emirate, as well as other members of the Emirate Council, and KACCIMA and staff of the Bank.

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