THE chief executive officer of Spectra Industries Limited, Duro Kuteyi, said he had to tip someone six per cent to access a Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) intervention fund, while calling on the incoming government to overhaul the operations of the apex bank “completely.”
Kuteyi, who did not disclose the name of the middleman and amount he accessed from the apex bank’s intervention, said this on Wednesday, May 17, when he appeared on Channels Television’s ‘Business Morning’ programme.
“They said they have intervention funds; please ask the central bank who got the intervention funds and at what rates because someone approached me for six per cent to fill his pocket before I could be assisted to get the intervention fund,” the Spectra CEO said.
He stressed that accessing the fund was “very difficult”, alleging that only those with enough to pay “extra money” (a sort of bribe) were accessing it, while genuine players in the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) sector could not.
Kuteyi said, “The CBN needs total overhauling to make facilities available to those the facilities are meant for.”
Lamenting that most manufacturers needed to go to the central bank for their foreign exchange needs, the industrialist added, “The CBN does not give us the foreign exchange at the official rate because there is always someone in between, even inside the central bank.
“If we can get at the official rate, businesses will grow, but we can not, so that makes doing business more difficult for manufacturers. But the bureau de change operators are getting foreign exchange.”
But the president of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria, Aminu Gwadabe, told The ICIR that the operators were still looking for options for the survival of their business operations.
Gwadabe recalled that the CBN had, since July 27, 2021, suspended the BDCs from sale of foreign exchange on its window.
“The policy only succeeded in fuelling inefficient informal sectors, multiple exchange rates, loss in investors’ confidence and currency substitution.
“We urge the incoming government to leverage the potent transmission mechanism roles of BDCs to inject liquidity in the retail FX market by securitising diaspora remittances to boost supply and enhance the value of the naira,” he said.
Findings by The ICIR showed that external reserves had fallen to $35.19 billion by May 15, compared to $37.08 billion on January 1, representing a 5.10 per cent drop since the beginning of the year.
“We need to boost our non-oil sector proceeds by increasing the yield of primary products to checkmate our highly volatile commodity terms of trade,” Gwadabe added.
The Spectra boss disclosed that manufacturers had been using their savings to stay in business, hoping the situation would be better.
“If we abandon it now, it will be challenging to return to it,” asserting, “the central bank is not assisting manufacturers.”
Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector shrank for the second month in March at 42.3 points, compared to 44.7 points for February as cash scarcity hit Nigeria’s economy and hampered private sector activity.
This is according to the latest edition of the Stanbic IBTC Bank Nigeria Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), which explained that when read above 50, the index indicates growth, but below that threshold point is contraction.