The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has expressed its determination to return the Nigerian economy to the period when the manufacturing and agricultural sectors formed the base of the economy.
The apex bank’s Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who spoke during a virtual meeting with Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of conglomerates in Nigeria, called on industrial conglomerates operating in the country to support efforts aimed at growing the Nigerian economy and returning it to its glory days.
Emefiele, who acknowledged the challenge of low crude oil prices to major economies of the world, expressed confidence that the price of crude will not remain at low levels for a long period.
He emphasized that the low crude oil prices were surmountable, even as he said that Nigeria’s foreign reserves of about $37Billion remained robust to support the economy.
He enjoined the conglomerates to key into the current administration’s drive of diversifying the base of the Nigerian economy by taking advantage of its large population to market their products, which he insisted could be produced in Nigeria and exported to the rest of the world.
He pledged the bank’s willingness to provide foreign exchange to companies that required such for raw materials and machinery that could not be obtained in Nigeria.
Emefiele said that with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA) now billed to commence in January 2021, Nigeria provided the companies with immense opportunities to produce their items and make huge profits through the Nigerian market, which he noted is large enough to support their respective businesses.
He emphasized the need to prioritise the Nigerian market, assuring the companies that the apex bank will collaborate with the relevant government agencies to help nip smuggling in the bud, while also promising to protect their businesses to ensure they succeed in Nigeria.
He also assured the CEOs of the apex bank’s willingness to collaborate with other fiscal authorities to improve on their ease of doing business in Nigeria, with a view to simplifying their import and export processes.
On the issue of Direct Foreign Investments (FDIs), Emefiele said that the bank is not opposed to the conglomerates seeking alternative but legitimate sources of foreign exchange to boost their businesses, just as he said the CBN would not hinder the companies from repatriating their dividends.