Our $37bn external reserve still robust to support economy – Emefiele
Mr Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says the low crude oil prices were surmountable, as he declared that Nigeria’s foreign reserves of about $37 billion remained robust to support the economy.
He urged industrial conglomerates operating in the country to support efforts aimed at growing the Nigerian economy.
Emefiele gave the advice on Tuesday in a virtual meeting with the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of conglomerates in Nigeria.
He said that as the country continued the process of full reopening of its economy following the Covid-19 lockdown the industrialists had vital roles to play.
The CBN governor said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s desire was to return Nigeria to the period when the manufacturing and agricultural sectors formed the base of the economy.
Emefiele, while acknowledging the challenge of low crude oil prices to major economies of the world, expressed confidence that it would not remain at low levels for a long period.
The CBN governor, therefore, 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.
These, he said, could be produced in Nigeria and exported to the rest of the world.
He also 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 the country.
Speaking on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA), billed to commence in January 2021, Emefiele said Nigeria provided the companies with immense opportunities to produce their items and make huge profits through the Nigerian market.
The CBN governor promised the CEOs of the bank’s readiness 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 the apex bank was not opposed to the conglomerates seeking alternative but legitimate sources of foreign exchange to boost their businesses.
He said that the CBN would not hinder the companies from repatriating their dividends.
Emefiele, however, warned that the bank would not support the importation of items that could be produced in the country.
He said that CBN could not spend its foreign exchange reserves on what would not boost the economy and generate jobs for Nigerians. (NAN)