…Inaugurates CBN Lafia Branch as Emefiele Reassures on Financial Inclusion, Support for Agriculture

todayFebruary 25, 2022 1

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James Emejo in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday inaugurated the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) new branch office in Lafia, Nasarawa State, as part of efforts to bring the apex bank closer to the people.

The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said the move would also help to actualise Buhari’s vision of delivering on agricultural transformation to Nigerians, adding that it would further promote currency and business transactions by government agencies and corporate entities in the state.

Specifically, he noted that the replication of the central bank’s presence in all the states of the federation would further ensure the delivery democracy dividends particularly on the CBN’s Anchor Borrower Programmes (ABP) and its other development finance interventions.

Emefiele, while speaking at the brief ceremony, said the branch offices would ensure that agriculture extension service workers as well as various farmers in the nooks and crannies of the country are reached easily.
He further said the opening of the state-of-the-art edifice was of exceptional significance for the central bank given that it was the first branch of the CBN to be inaugurated by the president.

He expressed appreciation to the president for honouring the invitation amidst his tight schedule – being on a state visit.
The CBN governor said the opening of the new branch was the culmination of several years of hard work, using mainly local content, in line with the administration’s resolve to promote the utilisation of Nigerian resources and services as a way of enhancing the capabilities of indigenous people without having to compromise quality, safety, health or environmental standards.

Additionally, he said the construction of the Lafia branch was in pursuant to the federal government’s statutory requirement for the presence of a CBN in every state of the federation, for currency and business transactions by government agencies and corporate entities in the state.
He pointed out that the building remained a fulfillment of the central bank’s goal of providing a conducive and safe working environment for staff of the bank, adding that following years of careful planning and prudent procurement, the bank had also developed branch buildings in eight other state capital which he listed to include Abakaliki, Ado-Ekiti, Birnin-Kebbi, Dutse, Gusau and Yenagoa.

According to him, that for Jalingo and Damaturu would be completed soon.
This, he said, would ensure that the CBN structures are replicated in all the states of the federation, stressing that as a people-oriented central bank, its commitment to ensuring financial inclusion remained unwavering.

He said the presence of the bank across state capitals would help support the apex bank’s goal of taking its well-thought central banking services and interventions closer to those at the grassroots.
Furthermore, Emefiele said the desire to deepen financial inclusion prompted the bank to seek and obtain the gracious approval of the president for the launch of the first central bank.

He also said the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), known as the eNaira, would in the coming days, ensure that Nigerians in remote areas conduct financial activities using digital platforms. The CBN governors urged Nigerians to embrace the eNaira to foster greater financial inclusion.
Emefiele also said the CBN remained committed to the objective of providing a conducive environment to enable individuals and corporates harness their true potential to contribute to the overall development of the Nigerian economy.

He added that the apex bank had an unflinching belief that every Nigerian deserves an opportunity to contribute their quota to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a position which he said necessitated its development of initiatives including the ABP, the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF); the Agri-Business/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AgSMEIS); the Tertiary Institutions’ Entrepreneurship Scheme (TIES) and lately, the 100 for 100 Policy on Production and Productivity and the Race to $200 Billion FX Repatriation (RT200) among others.

Emefiele, nonetheless, commended the roles played by stakeholders on the branch project, notably, the Government of Nasarawa State, which he said gave the necessary support to complete structure as well as project consultants, contractors, and the CBN in-house team for their effort towards making the project a reality.
He said the complex comprised of the main and ancillary buildings spread out with parking lots, fuel dump and security posts, water storage and treatment plants among others – positioned as appropriate and approved by the Nasarawa State Building Regulatory Authorities.

According to him, the main building, occupying an area of 3206.58sq meters comprised of four floors including a basement floor total 8000sqm. The floors consist of well finished office spaces for staff, equipment, storage as well as the installation of mechanical and electrical services, parking spaces to accommodate 100 cars for both visitors and staff.

Also, Executive Director, Finance and Accounts, Qunitec Limited, the local contractor that handled the CBN edifice, told journalists that the complex was, “awarded to us some years back as indigenous company. The story we are here to tell today is simple: we can do it. What we have today is a testimony to that submission.

“We were awarded the contract and we took it headlong as challenge. We have been able to deliver. Everybody is happy over it.”

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