As part of its commitment to the empowerment and development of Small Medium Enterprises in the country by providing SMEs with information needed to access FX from the CBN, First Bank hosted a forum on FX for SMEs, in Lagos.
Giving the opening remarks Oludolapo Adigun, Group Head, Retail Banking, stressed that this was part of the empowerment series of the Bank, geared towards improving the activities of SMEs nationwide.
In her presentation on “FX for SMEs: Eligibility & Exploitation”, Eloho Ogude, Head, Product Development stated that the purpose of the FX provision from the CBN for SMEs is to ease pressure on Foreign Exchange market.
Speaking further, Ogude noted that SMEs are entitled to $20,000 a quarter on the FX provisions for the importation of physical goods into the country. In terms of documentation, she disclosed that Form Q was the form designed for SMEs to access FX from the CBN.
The criteria according to her was for the entrepreneurs to open an account with First Bank for a minimum of six months. The account must be funded, while the Form Q should have correct beneficiary’s details, as well as an up-to-date performer invoice.
She notified the SMEs that the rate for the FX from the CBN is 360/$ 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.
The Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, in her remarks admonished entrepreneurs to explore opportunities in FX to SMEs from CBN.
Awosika said “Policies about Forex for SMEs are moving targets that change at any time 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.”