First Bank, Nigeria’s foremost and largest financial institution Who recently won the Asian banker award as the best retail bank in Nigeria for the 6th consecutive time also demonstrated it commitment to the empowerment and development of Small Medium Enterprises in the country by hosting a forum on FX for SMEs, in Lagos.
The event brought together entrepreneurs cutting across various sectors of the Nigerian economy.
Oludolapo Adigun, Group Head, Retail Banking, Lagos Mainland in her opening remark said the purpose of the forum was to provide SMEs with the information required for their eligibility for the new CBN Foreign Exchange Window for SMEs. She stressed that this was part of the empowerment series of the Bank, geared towards improving the activities of SMEs nationwide.
Eloho Ogude, the Head, Product Development In her presentation on “FX for SMEs:Eligibility & Exploitation”. stated that the purpose of the FX provision from the CBN for SMEs is to ease pressure on Foreign Exchange market. Eloho noted that SMEs are entitled to $20,000 a quarter on the new FX window for the importation of physical goods only into the country.
In terms of documentation, she disclosed that Form Q was the form designed for SMEs to access FX from the CBN must be completed with correct beneficiary details. Other requirement according to her includes that businesses must have operated his account for a minimum of six months, fund the account with the Naira equivalent of the value of FX and the provision of valid performer invoice from the exporter.
According to her, the rate for the FX from the CBN is 360/$ while the payment mode is via Telegraph Transfer. The benefits of the FX to SMEs initiative listed include; boosting FX Liquidity in the country, reducing the volatility of the FX market & strengthen the Naira and improving business activities that will boost the Nigerian economy.
Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, The Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria, advise SME owners to take advantage of the new CBN FX window for SMEs. “Policies about Forex for SMEs are moving targets that change at anytime which is why the SME should strive to be informed. However, our support for SMEs and new ideas is structured in a way that ensures that you as an SME are not buried in indebtedness. You can always count on us as we are fully committed to the growth of SMEs in our growing nation.” The chairman said.
The forum was also interactive and most of the concerns of SMEs on eligibility and ease of accessing the funds were addressed at the forum. The bank will replicate the larger forum in various groups nationwide to further sensitize SMEs are local levels.