CBN leading economic diversification – Emefiele

CBN leading economic diversification – Emefiele

By Lydia Ngwakwe, Lagos.


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it is leading the drive towards diversifying the nation’s economy away from oil through its numerous interventions.


The Governor of CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said this at the 33rd Seminar organised by CBN for the Finance Correspondents and Business Editors on Saturday in Lagos.


The conference, which held simultaneously in Lagos and Abuja, has “Policy Options for Economic Diversification: Thinking Outside the Crude Oil-Box” as its theme.


Emefiele said the quest for building a robust economy had remained the major component of the nation’s monetary policy.


According to him, Nigeria has largely depended on the oil sector for revenue generation over the past four decades.


He, therefore, said there was need to build a broad-based and well-diversified economy that would guarantee overall macro-economic stability.


“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,” he said.


Emefiele, represented by CBN’s Director of Corporate Communication Department, Osita Nwanisobi, said that the apex bank had supported non-oil sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, education, power and aviation and other allied economic value chains.


He said that Nigeria had become a rice-exporting country, as the banks flagship programme, Anchor Borrowers programme (ABP), had changed the long-standing dependence of Nigeria on imported rice.


He said that the CBN, through its Agriculture Credit Scheme, had supported commercial farmers in the country in different value chains, including oil palm, cotton, cocoa, among others.


He said that the implementation of the policy regarding 44 items prohibited from foreign exchange for import had revealed that the CBN’s continued support to the manufacturing sector and MSMEs was yielding great results.


He also said that the apex bank’s health sector intervention was beginning to reduce the healthcare tourism, which according to him, was helping to conserve the country’s foreign exchange and improve the well-being of its citizens.


Similarly, Emefiele stressed that the new 100 for 100 Policy on Production and Productivity, was beginning to yield quality results.


He also said the RT200 FX initiative, designed to take advantage of Nigeria’s large domestic production to other regional markets, was targeted at increasing foreign exchange inflows to the economy and support exchange rate stability.


On digitalisation across all sectors, specifically in entrenching a resilient payments system, the CBN governor said that the bank had, over the years, established strategic initiatives and policies in the financial sector.


He named the strategies as the Payments System Vision 2020 (2007), National Financial Inclusion Strategy (2012-2018), Cash-less Policy (2012), Framework for Regulatory Sandbox Operations (2018-2021) and Open Banking Initiative (2021), among others.


Emefiele said that as a result, the Nigerian payment ecosystem had witnessed tremendous improvements over the years.


He said: “To consolidate its efforts towards engendering a digital economy, the bank deployed the e-Naira, Africa’s first Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), in preparation for the payment landscape of the future, given the potential benefits that will accrue to a digital economy.”

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