Chris Steven, Abuja
Godwin Emefiele, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says the apex bank is in the final stage of discussion with the Nigeria Export Import Bank (NEXIM) to set up a N500 billion fund to assist local manufacturers interested in the non-oil export.
Emefiele, who was represented by Edward Adamu, the newly appointed Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, disclosed this on Monday at the opening ceremony of the seminar for finance correspondents and Business Editors, in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom, explained that the move is part of the Bank’s effort to align with the federal government’s effort to reposition the economy away from oil.
This is even as he also revealed that Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserve will hit the $50 billion mark. The country’s foreign reserve stood at $46.2billion by the end of March.
There has been clamour for the government to diversify the economy from over-reliance on oil which makes up 80 per cent of its revenue.
While reeling out the strategies that by the Apex bank that brought the country out of recession, the CBN boss stressed that in order not to fall back into recession. “We must remain vigilant, we must compliant, remain proactive in order to sustain the recovery,” he added.
He said: “Monetary policy, we embarked on a cycle of policy tightening to rein in inflation using increasing Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) and aggressive Open Market Operations;
“In external reserves management, we adopted demand management through the restriction of FX for imports of 41 items, which we believedcould be produced locally;
“On exchange rate management, we took a number of actions to stabilize the exchange rate by abolishing speculators, bettors, round-trippers and rent-seekers. We also introduced the NAFEX and the Investors-Exporters FX Window to increase market transparency and FX inflows;
“In Development Finance, the Bank continued its financing activities in key high-impact sectors like Power, Aviation, Education, MSME, Agriculture, including CACs, ACGS, NIRSAL, the Anchor Borrower Programme, etc.
“In light of these and other policy responses, we are delighted that the economy has turned the corner with our worst days clearly behind us. For example: GDP recovered after five quarters of continuous contraction recording positive growths of 0.7 and 1.4 percent in quarters two and three of 2017, respectively, and signalling an exit from the recession; Inflation declined from a peak of 18.7 percent in January 2017 to 14.3 in December 2017;
“Exchange Rate appreciated significantly from over N525/US$1 in February 2017 to about N360/US$1 today, tapering premium across various windows and segments of the market; FX Supply has improved since the establishment of the I&E Window, with autonomous inflows of over US$20 billion through this window alone from April 2017 to date; FX Reserves has recovered significantly from a low of just over US$23 billion in October 2016 to about US$47.37 billion as of 5 April 2018,” he added.
The CBN boss said as sentiments improve in the macro-economy and supported by proactive monetary, trade, industrial and fiscal policies, we expect a continued uptick in GDP growth with a positive spillover to improved unemployment rate.
“As policies to strengthen the 14 agricultural and industrial sectors become more emergent, growth in these sectors will rise, further bolstering overall economy.”
The Apex Bank governor reiterated the need for a strong policy coordination between the various policy coordinating body.
“We expect a re-doubling of strong policy coordination, collaboration and cooperation which flourished during the very difficult times. To sustain our recovery, the need is greater now than ever for robust policy coordination.”