Sanusi said this at the signing of a tripartite agreement between the CBN and the governors of Benue, Borno and Cross River states in Abuja on Tuesday.
The CBN boss said the apex bank’s decision to set up three more Entreprenuership Development Centres in three geo-political zones was aimed at boosting the economy.
He said the EDCs would be located in Makurdi for the North Central zone, Maiduguri for North East and Calabar for the South South zone.
He said, “This is part of efforts to support the job creation initiative of government as you know, the NBS (Nigerian Bureau of Statistics) in 2010 and 2012 had poverty rate of 60.9 per cent and unemployment of 23.5 per cent as you know, poverty is highest in the northern part of the country and Borno and Yobe have been ranked low as far as poverty index is concerned.
“Indeed, the security situation in this part of the country is fundamentally linked to the absence of job opportunities and to the quality of life of the people. Unless these real economic issues are addressed, we will not likely find a long-lasting solution to the political and security problems. This is one reason why we have taken a strong interest in Borno State.”
He said the CBN had reviewed its microfinance policy banning state governments from owning microfinance banks.
He said the new policy was approved in such a way that state government would be allowed to own microfinance banks with an option to exit after a defined period.
He said the move became imperative, owing to limited access to credit by graduates of the EDCs.
Sanusi said as at September 2012 the three EDCs in Kano, Onitsha and Lagos had trained 39,110 people, counselled 92,449 business promoters and created 7,455 jobs.
However, he said only 2.64 per cent of them were able to access loans valued at N220m from financial institutions and some state governments.
He said, “To address the challenge of inadequate access to financial services by the EDC graduates, the bank has mandated the implementing agencies to facilitate linkages between the graduates of the EDCs and the financial institutions for startup capitals and business expansions.
“In addition, we expect the government to set up microfinance funds to provide a start-up tool kits to support the graduates, collaboration with DFIs to develop special loan products for graduates of EDCs, N220bn small micro and medium development fund to be made available to EDC graduate through microfinance banks. We have now amended the guidelines for microfinance to allow state government to own microfinance banks with the objective of exiting within a defined timeframe.”
Meanwhile, Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun and the Nigerian Bar Association have called on the Federal Government to check growing poverty, insecurity and rights violations in the country.
They made the call on Tuesday in Lagos at the 9th Chief Gani Fawehinmi Annual Lecture/Symposium organised by the Ikeja Branch of the NBA.
The programme, otherwise known as Fawehinmiism titled, ‘Economy Politics & Human Rights: Wither Nigeria?’, is being organised annually before the demise of Fawehinmi, a leading civil rights advocate and legal icon, to commemorate his virtues.