The Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) says the country must develop a requisite infrastructure for the growth of the real sector to attract stable and less speculative investments to the country.
The Director of Reserves Management, CBN, Alhaji Lamido Yuguda, said this at the ongoing CBN’s 20th Seminar for Finance Correspondents and Business Editors in Calabar.
Yuguda said coming up with such requisite attractive incentives, including building of infrastructure, would help boost the revenue for the nation’s external reserves
Yuguda said that government could ensure that lives and properties must be among its top priorities.
The official added that an economy must possess strong economic fundamentals, saying the nation’s source of foreign exchange earnings should be diversified to address the dominance of the oil sector.
He said that National Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) should also be strenghtened through more funding, to establish fiscal buffer that would improve Nigeria’s credit rating.
Yuguda said there had been misconceptions about the external reserves, stressing that they were owned by the Federal Government, Federation and the CBN.
He added the bulk of the external reserves belonged to the CBN because the bank monetised government foreign earnings at its request by buying the forex and paying Naira value to fund its budgetary provision.
According to him, the growth of economy amidst a sound financial and political environment attracts foreign investments, bringing with it attendant benefits.
He said that the country had sustained capital inflows above outflows which had cushioned the effect of foreign exchange demand.
Yuguda added that confidence had been established in the financial system and that had strengthened the economy.
The CBN director said the economy must possess strong economic fundamentals , especially Foreign Direct Inflow (FDI) to sustain a level of inflow.
Yuguda also said that Nigeria was able to attract all types of foreign capital before the 2008 global financial crisis due partly to a robust level of reserves.
The CBN director said that only Foreign Porfolio Investors (FPI) flow was sustained at a higher level after the crisis.
Yuguda said that the growth of external reserves in the past came from inflow such as Foreign Direct InFlow (FDI) but which was not forthcoming due to the volatilities in the foreign exchange market.
He said that in spite of the high interest rate, portfolio investors were reluctant to invest in the country because of the insecurity challenges.
The director said there was the need to diversify the structure of the foreign reserves because the country can not continue to depend solely on revenue from sale of crude oil.
According to him, the entire world is already moving away from use of oil for energy to alternative source of energy.
Yuguda added that there was the probability that the role of oil might change in 25 years time.
He expressed the belief that if the nation changed its structure and composition of foreign exchange generation, the pace at which its external reserves increased would grow.