In a bid to address the high level of interest rates in the country, the Senate Committee on Banking, and Financial Institutions met with the officials of the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) and representatives of commercial banks on Tuesday.

The continuous rise in the interest rate in recent times has been identified as a prohibitive factor to sustainable business growth among small and medium enterprises.

Nigeria’s lending rate is one of the highest in the world. Although lending rates in Nigerian banks officially remain approximately 18 per cent, four percentage points above the MPR, loans are available in the banks only at an interest rate above 20 per cent.

In a statement by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, he said the interest, inflation and exchange rates must be properly managed to ensure a vibrant economy.

“All of us shared the sentiment that no matter what it takes, now that the exchange rate regime has stabilised, all hands must be on deck for us to achieve a better interest rate regime. We had a fruitful discussion and we are hopeful that once we continue to work hard as this, working together, we will achieve what is desirable for our economy to grow and make businesses survive and sustain their growth,” he said.

“Our thinking is very open. We have started the meeting before. We just wanted to listen to them, to work together and fast-track the processes for us to achieve a better interest rate regime. And from our discussion, everybody agreed that we must work on many of the indices, interventions and the meeting continues,” Ibrahim added.

The meeting also had in attendance the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun.

In our view, as long as the government keeps competing with the private sector for the limited credit in the economy, the interest rate would continue to be prohibitive for businesses.

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