Posted by News Express | 14 April 2019 | 662 times
Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has applauded the painstaking efforts of the apex bank under his watch in delivering on the core mandates of managing and stabilising the Nigerian economy in the last five years.
Emefiele gave the verdict while delivering a keynote address at “An Evening With Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor Mr. Godwin Emefiele”, at the Willard International Hotel, Washington DC, USA, on Friday night. He attributed the monumental successes to the collective determination of the staff and management of the bank in helping to build a resilient economic and financial base for the Nigeria.
The CBN Governor, however, noted: “Although monumental feats have been achieved by the CBN in the various aspects of development finance, foreign exchange management, financial inclusion and payments system in the past five years, challenges remain. The CBN has underscored its commitment to ensure that the Nigerian financial system is not only sound, but is also able to support the real sector in boosting Nigeria’s growth and development”.
The CBN governor listed the successes of the Bank in the last five years to include the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), which he said has helped to significantly reduce the importation of rice from almost a million metric tons annually to a paltry 1,000 tons in 2019, the skillful management of the foreign exchange policy which has helped to stabilize the naira and the reduction in inflation from 18% in 2017 to 11% in 2019, which fast tracked the quick exit of Nigeria from economic recession in 2018.
“We are getting commendations from everywhere, even from the International Monetary Funds. IMF is praising Nigeria’s economic reform policies and we are happy about that,” he said in the course of the presentation.
On the ABP, Emefiele said: “As at December 20198, a total sum of N174.48 billion had been disbursed through 19 Participating Financial Institutions to finance 902,518 farmers, working with 194 anchor companies,” disclosing further that “during the period, 2,807,775 and 8,423325 direct and indirect jobs, respectively, had been created under ABP”.
He noted that the 2018 farming seasons witnessed the inclusion of new commodities such as cattle fattening and cultivation of 20,657 hectares of cocoa, ginger, oil palm, castor seed, tomatoes and sesame by 8,366 farmers.
Addressing the foreign exchange management regime, Emefiele said the policy “remains geared towards preserving the value of the Naira, maintaining a favourable external reserves position and ensuring an external balance without compromising the need for internal balance and the overall goal of microeconomic stability”.
He added that since creating the Investors’ and Exporters’ Window (I&E) in April 2017, as well as Foreign Exchange Window (FX) for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) “the CBN has recorded about $35 billion in autonomous inflows through this window alone. As a result, exchange rate pressures eased considerably across all markets as the rates converged to about N360/$ and the distortive premium almost eliminated”.
Explaining further, he said: “At the Bureau De Change segment, there has been a significant appreciation of the Naira from over N525/$ in February 2017 to about N360/$ today. Rates as the I&E window also appreciated from nearly N382/$ in May 2017 to just over N360/$. In addition, exchange rate pressures normally witnessed during general elections cycles” were avoided.
The impact of the success of the foreign exchange manage he cited include a boost in the local production of the items on the list of the 43 banned items; created domestic demand for the 43 items; employment generation; boosting of substantial foreign exchange owing to the reduction in the import bills of the country and improved domestic capacity.
Some of those present at the event were the Nigerian ambassador to the United States Sylvanus Nsofor, former US Ambassador to Nigeria Robbin Sanda, stakeholders, top CBN management staff and journalists.
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