The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has tasked industrial conglomerates operating in the country to support efforts of the government to grow the nation’s economy and return it to its green days. This was disclosed by CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, in a statement issued by the apex bank, and seen by Nairametrics.
The CBN boss warned that the apex bank would not support the importation of items that could be produced in Nigeria. According to him, the bank could not spend its foreign exchange reserves on what would not boost the economy and generate jobs for Nigerians.
In a virtual meeting with Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of conglomerates in Nigeria, Emefiele explained that the CBN, in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s desire, was determined to return the Nigerian economy to the period when the manufacturing and agricultural sectors formed the base of the economy.
He said, “As Nigeria continues the process of the full reopening of its economy due to the lockdown over Coronavirus (COVID-19), the nation needs industrial conglomerates to support efforts aimed at growing the Nigerian economy.”
While acknowledging the challenge of low crude oil prices to major economies of the world, Emefiele expressed confidence that the price of crude would not remain at low levels for a long period. He emphasised that the low crude oil prices were surmountable and Nigeria’s foreign reserves of about $37 billion remained robust to support the economy.
“Conglomerates should 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 that could be produced in Nigeria and exported to the rest of the world. CBN is willing to provide foreign exchange to companies that required such for raw materials and machinery that could not be obtained in Nigeria.
“With the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA) now billed to commence in January 2021, Nigeria provides the companies with immense opportunities to produce their items and make huge profits through the Nigerian market, which is large enough to support their respective businesses,” he added.
Stressing further on the need to prioritise the Nigerian market, the CBN Governor assured the companies that the bank would collaborate with the relevant government agencies to help nip smuggling in the bud, while also promising to protect their businesses to ensure that they succeeded in Nigeria.