CBN Saves Nigeria N1.3 Trillion Import Bill Annually – Emefiele

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CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele

By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) GoEmefieler.Godwin Emefiele on Friday said the Apex bank with its development financial intervention policies saved
Nigeria about N1.3 trillion annually in our nation’s import bill.

Delivering the first Distinguished Leadership Programme Lecture of the School of Economics, University of Ibadan, titled  “Up Against the Tide: Nigeria’s Heterodox Monetary Policy and the Breton Woods Consensus,” the CBN governor also hinted that N30 billion has been set aside to support the creative industry in Nigeria.

Dr Emefiele stressed that in the development finance intervention brought about increase of lending to the agriculture and industrial sectors through targeted interventions schemes such as the Anchor Borrowers Programme, Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme and the Rural Sector Support Facility.

“In particular, we sought to improve domestic supply of four commodities (rice, fish, sugar and wheat) which consume about N1.3 trillion annually in our nation’s import bill.” he said.

According to him, as a result of the policies, those  players in the manufacturing sector who are no longer benefitting from the new policies that help reduce importation, grow local industries and farming and ultimately create more jobs for Nigerians both within and outside the country resolved into abusing and insulting him  for adopting unconventional methods in tackling Nigerian economic challenges.

The CBN governor pointed out that the policies helped reduce pressure on foreign exchange, increase foreign reserve and generally improve Nigeria’s economy.

ButtressinEmefieler Emefiele said with the policies,  the country’s current foreign reserve is able to finance a nine-month import bill, saying,
tackling Nigeria multiple economic problems in the face of dwindled crude oil prices, smuggling and dumping of foreign goods requires extraordinary measures which cannot afford to be conventional as may be advised by the Breton Woods institutions.

Emphasizing that the economic recession of 2014 presented a daunting challenge to CBN, Mr Emefiele said “to exit the economic downturn, the bank was forced to embrace some hard, unconventional methods in the overall interest of the country including  raising of Monetary Policy Rate from  12 to 14 per cent in order to “rein in expected inflationary pressures that may result from exchange rate,”.

The  CBN governor gave other methods as the  “introduction of demand management approaches to foreign exchange in order to conserve foreign reserve and support domestic production, opening of different foreign exchange windows to take care of the interests of investors, exporters and other critical sector participants as well as introduction of risk-based supervision which include monitoring compliance of supervised institutions and assessment of the risk profile and governance management practices of banks.”

Speaking further, the CBN governor stated that the interventions have yielded results as many more farmers now grow higher quantity of food for local consumption which has largely reduced importation, reduced pressure in foreign exchange, created jobs and empowered more citizens economically.

While maintaining that CBN under the policies did not hand over cash to beneficiaries, he said the beneficiaries were given improved seedlings, herbicides etc to prevent diversion of funds , adding that similar approaches were adopted for the players in the manufacturing sector with a sum of N30 billion been set aside to support the creative industry in Nigeria.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the lecture, Prof. Sam Olofin who lauded the CBN ’s performance at the apex bank described the lecture as an opportunity to gain a deeper insight into the mind of the man that has been driving the country’s economy since 2014.

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