THE GOVERNOR of the Central
Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin
Emefiele on Friday in Lagos
attributed improvements in
the domestic production and a
reduction in Nigeria’s import bill
to the dogged implementation of
its policy denying importers of 41
items access to foreign exchange
from the official window.
Speaking at the 2017 Annual
Bankers’ Dinner of the Chartered
Institute of Bankers of Nigeria
(CIBN), Emefiele noted that as a
result of the decision which was
opposed in several quarters, local
manufacturers are now recording
profits, besides the major boosts to
their revenue.
Specifically, he said since
implementation of the restriction
commenced, the nation’s monthly
import bill has fallen considerably
by $3.6bn or 65.45% from an
average of $5.5bn, first to $2.1bn in
2016 and $1.9bn by the first half of
this year.
In addition, he said
implementation of the policy has
had a great impact on Nigeria’s
import bill and boosted local rice
production in the country, recalling
that Nigeria, in 2012, imported
about 1.2 million metric tonnes
of rice from a trading partner, a
number that dropped by 99% to
only 784 metric tonnes in 2016, one
full year of implementation of the
policy.
He noted, for example, that the
policy turned around the fortune
of Psaltry International Limited
(PIL), an agro-allied company
engaged in of production of starch,
based in Oyo State, which has
since moved from having only few
customers and a huge backlog of
inventory.
The company, Emefiele
continued, now has over 50
multinational clients, including
Nestle and Unilever, besides
saving the country $7m in foreign
exchange drawdown over the two
years of the policy.
As part of the gains from
the policy, the governor also
announced an agreement reached
with Unilever, which moved its
production facility to another
country a few years ago, to
commission a new Blue Band
Factory in Agbara, Ogun State
before the year end.
According to him, “these
are clearly verifiable successes
of government’s attempts to
create jobs locally, improve the
wealth of our rural population,
improve industrial capacities and
ultimately attain economic growth
in Nigeria.”
Today, he continued, Nigeria’s
economy had recorded positive
growth after five consecutive
quarters of negative growth,
thereby signaling its exit from
recession, besides the downward
trend in headline inflation from
18.72% in January 2017 to the
September 2017 figure of 15.98%.
The CBN Governor equally
expressed gladness that the Naira
had appreciated from over N500/
US$1 to about N360/US$1, noting
that the economy had seen stability
in the exchange rate of the naira for
over six months, he affirmed that
the exchange rate was not only
stable, but was also converging
across various windows and
segments of the market.
He noted that since the
establishment of the Import
and Export Window, the CBN
had recorded about US$10bn in
autonomous inflows therefrom, a
situation he said reflected the effect
of the increased transparency
which that window accorded
the foreign exchange market
and its impact of improving
investor confidence and business
sentiments.
He noted that the nation’s
external reserves had recovered
significantly from about US$23bn
in October 2016 to over US$34.3bn
as at November 3, 2017.
“The accretion in reserves does
not only reflect increased inflow
but also our shrewd FX demand
management strategy,” he added
Meanwhile, speaking on the
economic outlook for 2018,
Emefiele warned fiscal and
monetary authorities against
complacency and over-confidence
because of current positive
developments in the economy.
Rather, he urged all to strive to
improve and sustain the pace of
recovery.
Although he noted that the
import bill had dropped, he stressed
that Nigeria’s manufacturing
and agriculture sectors still had
a long way to go if the country
were to attain self-sufficiency in
those sectors. Nevertheless, he
assured that the CBN, on its part,
would continue to fine-tune its
policies and strategies based on
its understanding of evolving
developments and supported by
in-house technical analysis and
simulations. He assured that the
CBN would remain proactive
in ensuring that the welfare of
Nigerians is optimised at any point
in time.
Specifically, Emefiele noted
that, that barring any unforeseen
shocks, inflationary pressure
will continue to ease, expressing
optimism that the rate may return
to very low double digit or high
single digit levels during the next
year. He also expressed hope that
the foreign exchange reserve will
continue to grow; stressing that
Nigeria can attain a foreign reserve
position of about US$40 billion by
end of 2018.
Emefiele also expressed hope
that the economic recovery would
consolidate and that the exchange
rate stability currently being
witnessed would continue. While
expressing hope for even stronger
policy coordination, collaboration
and cooperation in 2018, he hinted
that monetary policy stance could
change when the underlying
fundamentals become supportive.
While expressing delight that
some of the pains that were
associated with some of the CBN’s
policies had become major gains in
Nigeria’s economy, Emefiele urged
all stakeholders to work towards
creating a Nigeria, where balanced
growth and shared prosperity is
guaranteed for all.

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