Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has lamented that Nigeria’s declining crude oil production, which is induced by massive oil theft and pipeline vandalism, is indirectly undermining the interventionist programs of the apex bank.

The CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele said that through numerous interventions in various sectors, the apex bank is targeting at driving the diversifying of the country’s economy away from oil.

The CBN governor said it is sad enough that Nigeria is running a near mono economy where is has depended mainly on the oil sector for revenue over the past four decades.

He therefore said there was the need to build a broad-based and well-diversified economy that would guarantee overall macroeconomic 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,” the CBN governor said.

Emefiele spoke at a seminar organised by finance correspondents and business editors simultaneously in Lagos and Abuja, under the theme: ‘Policy Options for Economic Diversification: Thinking Outside the Crude Oil-Box’.

Represented by the banks’ director corporate communication, Osita Nwanisobi, the governor said the quest for building a robust economy had remained the major component of the monetary policy.

According to him, the apex bank had supported non-oil sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, education, power and aviation and other allied economic value chains.

The apex bank’s governor also noted that Nigeria had become a rice exporting country as the bank’s flagship Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) had changed the long-standing dependence on imported rice.

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

The CBN boss explained that the implementation of 44 items prohibited from foreign exchange for import had revealed that the bank’s continued support to the manufacturing sector and MSMEs was yielding great results.

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

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

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

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) Open Banking Initiative (2021), among others.

The apex bank governor said that due to the strategies, the Nigerian payment ecosystem had witnessed tremendous improvements over the years.

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