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FirstBank Chairman charges SMEs to take advantage of government policies for ease of business
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By Benson Akomo
May 11, 2017 11:21:32am GMT      |      Views: 761
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WorldStage Newsonline-- The Chairman of first Bank has encouraged entrepreneurs to take advantage of policies put in place by the government to foster economic development and business growth.

Addressing participants at an engagement with small and medium scale entrepreneurs, organised to enlighten businesses on how to access foreign exchange for importation purposes, Awosika said business owners do not need to be afraid to do things the right way.

"Taking advantage of policies that encourage cost reduction will enable you compete favourably," she said. 

“A lot of SMEs are scared of the official window, whereas smart businesses will take advantage of every opportunity that helps to moderate cost In a sustainable manner.”

In her presentation titled "FX for SME's: Eligibility and Exploitation Head Product Development”, Elohor Ogunde shared tips in the FX provisions pegged at a maximum of $20,000 per quarter by the Central Bank of Nigeria. 

Elohor simplified the requirements, eligibility and benefits of the recently introduced policy by the CBN which gives Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs  access to forex.

She said the benefits of the FX to SME is to ease the pressure on forex demand in Nigeria, reduce volatility of FX, boost liquidity and improve business activities that will engender growth.

Late April, the CBN announced that SME's will be allowed access to foreign exchange, once they apply through a special window created for the ease of business transactions.

According to Elohor, SMEs, regarded as the engine of growth and sustainability for the developing Nigerian economy can be empowered when engagements are held to educate and demystifying policies created for building and developing small scale entrepreneurs in Nigeria

She explained that the new policy allows for a maximum of $20,000 per quarter to every eligible SME to be used for the imports of physical goods into the country.

She said the application goes through a simplified process of Telegraphic Transfers and is available at the rate of N360/$ by the Central Bank.

She stated that the list of 41 items banned by the federal government from being imported will not be granted access to the funds.

She said only SMEs who are importers of valid items will be allowed access to the funds upon successful application.

Speaking further on who can access the funds, she said registered business or an incorporated company of SME size with  asset base between N5 and N500 million excluding landed properties are eligible for consideration.

She said other requirements needed are a duly completed Form Q, a banking relationship for at least 6 months, transfer details for   the recipient bank's and a proforma invoice for transaction.

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