Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele says CBN in the next five years, will aggressively pursue policies that will further diversify the Nigerian economy. He said that ignorer to drive a sustainable growth of the Nigerian economy the nation need to significantly increase the country’s policy buffers, including fiscal measures to increase the external reserve. Speaking at the University of Nigeria convocation he said that Nigeria will also need to “diversify the revenue structure of the Federal government in order to rely much less on direct proceeds from sale of crude oil; proactive fiscal actions, specifically, infrastructure investment is required to enhance economic growth; Provision of cheap financing to boost local production of priority goods in critical sectors of the economy in order to reduce reliance on foreign imports.
“Universities have a considerable role to play in working with the private and public sector in supporting research and development of solutions that can be applied to enhance the growth of the Nigerian Economy. In addition, they will also have to enhance their curriculum, so students are well equipped with the skill sets that are required to support Nigeria’s growth in this digital era”. He further said “Building on measures implemented by the fiscal and monetary authorities towards addressing the constraints of farmers, SMEs and manufacturers will be critical in order to drive sustainable growth of the Nigerian economy and reduce our reliance on proceeds from the sale of crude oil. In addition, forging partnerships between Universities, Research Institutions, the Private sector and Public sector institutions in developing and implementing solutions that aid productivity in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, will be important in order to build a sustainable productive base for the nation.
Emefiele said“Nigeria belongs to all of us and we have a role to play to make sure things get better. I will also emphasise that Nigerian policy makers are good at developing policies, but the biggest challenge of the Nigerian economic policy is that people try circumventing policies. Given this opportunity now, we will make it very difficult for people to circumvent economic policies. We must learn to respect our policies. If you don’t respect the economic policies of this country, and you fall short of our economic policies as an economic saboteur, you will be dealt with,” he said. Emefiele who is the 11th CBN Governor, began his five-year tenure on June 3, 2014. Some of the major policies undertaken by the apex bank in the last five years included the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme which aimed at increasing the country’s local food production and conserving the foreign reserves.
The CBN took the decision to also ban 41 items from accessing foreign exchange through official routes to encourage local production of the items and simultaneously conserve the nation’s depleting foreign reserves. Since then, the CBN had raised the number of items affected on the list to 43, with the inclusion of fertiliser and textile products.
Some of the items not valid for foreign exchange at the Nigerian window included rice, cement, margarine, palm produce, beef, vegetables, poultry and eggs, private airplanes, wooden doors and Iron rods, among others. The CBN also introduced the multiple foreign exchange system, which led to the creation of the Inter-bank/Wholesale, Invisible, Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and the Investors/Exporters’ windows. Also, in 2018, the CBN signed a bilateral currency swap agreement with the People’s Republic of China worth about 2.5 billion dollars. The currency swap agreement was designed to aid trade transactions between China and Nigeria and remove the need to first source for U.S. Dollars before payments for transactions involving the two countries. The CBN through the Banker’ Committee and in collaboration with all banks in Nigeria also inaugurated a centralised biometric identification system for the banking industry tagged: “Bank Verification Number (BVN)”.