The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said the quest for building a robust economy had remained the major component of its monetary policy.
This was made known by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, at the 33rd Seminar organised by CBN for the Finance Correspondents and Business Editors in Lagos.
The seminar, which held simultaneously in Lagos and Abuja, had, “Policy Options for Economic Diversification: Thinking outside the Crude Oil-Box,” as its theme.
Emefiele, who was represented by the Director, Corporate Communications of CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, said the apex bank is spearheading Nigeria’s drive towards the diversification of the country’s economy away from oil through its numerous interventions across other sectors.
Emefiele said that Nigeria has largely been dependent on the oil sector for revenue generation over the past 4 decades, adding that there was need to build a broad-based and well-diversified economy that would guarantee overall macro-economic stability.
He said, “The quest for building a more sophisticated economy and agricultural, micro, small, and medium enterprises, industrial and manufacturing concerns have become the major component of our monetary policy.
“Nigeria has largely depended on the oil sector for revenue generation over the past four decades, and the sustained decline in crude oil production has continued to negatively undermine the performance of the economy.
“Thus, there is the urgent need for a conscientious effort to diversify to other non-oil sectors.’’
The CBN boss said the apex bank has played critical roles in the non-oil sector such as agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, education, power and aviation and other allied economic value chains.
He said Nigeria had become a rice exporting country as the CBN’s flagship Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) had changed the long-standing dependence on imported rice.
The ABP scheme is aimed at boosting agricultural production, improving foreign exchange and reversing Nigeria’s negative balance of trade on food with the disbursement of single-digit loans to smallholder farmers through Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and Microfinance Banks (MFBs).
Emefiele said the CBN had through its Agriculture Credit Scheme, supported commercial farmers in the country in different value chains including oil palm, cotton, cocoa, among others.
He said that the apex bank’s continuous support to the manufacturing sector and MSMEs which has started yielding great results had been aided by the implementation of a policy on the prohibition of 44 items from allocation of foreign exchange by the CBN for import.
He also said the apex bank’s health sector
intervention was beginning to reduce healthcare tourism, which according to him, was helping to conserve the country’s foreign exchange and improve the well-being of Nigerians.
Similarly, Emefiele stated that the new 100 for 100 Policy on Production and Productivity, was beginning to yield quality results. The CBN’s 100 for 100 policy on production and productivity is aimed at stimulating domestic production and employment for Nigerians as well as reducing dependence on imports with the selection of 100 private sector companies with projects that have the potential to significantly boost local productivity and the foreign exchange generating capacity of Nigeria and rolled over every 100 days with a new set of companies.
The CBN had always expressed its commitment to fully diversify Nigeria’s economy with its various intervention programmes in order to stop the problems created by the fluctuations and uncertainties created around global crude oil prices.
Their commitment is evidenced in the various intervention programmes aimed at diversifying the economy away from oil.
Some of these interventions include Real Sector Financing and Interventions, Payment Systems Initiatives, Consumer Protection, Clean Naira Note Policy, Financial Inclusion, Consumer Rights, TIES, 100 for 100 among others.