A day after his confirmation by the Senate as Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor for another five years, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, yesterday unveiled more strategies to develop the national economy in the next dispensation.
Emefiele said that in the next five years, the CBN would aggressively pursue policies that would further diversify the Nigerian economy.
He said that in line with the policy direction of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, the existing measures would be sustained and improved upon while new ones would come on stream to stimulate growth, create more jobs and curb the import of goods that can be locally produced.
In an interview with journalists in Nsukka, Enugu State, after a special convocation of the University of Nigeria (UNN), where he was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Business Administration, the apex bank chief added the CBN in the next phase of his administration would consolidate on the existing policies.
He said: “Nigeria belongs to all of us and we have a role to play to make sure things get better. I will also emphasise that Nigerian policymakers are good at developing policies, but the biggest challenge of the Nigerian economy is that people try circumventing the policies.
“Given this opportunity now, we will make it very difficult for people to circumvent economic policies.
“We must learn to respect our policies. If you don’t respect the economic policies of this country and you fall short of our economic policies as an economic saboteur, you will be dealt with,” he said.
Emefiele who is the 11th CBN governor begins his second term in office on June 3, 2019.
Some of the major policies undertaken by the apex bank in the last five years included the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme which aimed at increasing the country’s local food production and conserving the foreign reserves.
The CBN took the decision to also ban 41 items from accessing foreign exchange through official routes to encourage local production of the items and simultaneously conserve the nation’s depleting foreign reserves.
Since then, the CBN has raised the number of items affected on the list to 43, with the inclusion of fertiliser and textile products.
Some of the items not valid for foreign exchange at the Nigerian window included rice, cement, margarine, palm produce, beef, vegetables, poultry and eggs, private airplanes, wooden doors and Iron rods, among others.
The CBN also introduced the multiple foreign exchange system, which led to the creation of the inter-bank/wholesale, invisible, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and the investors/exporters’ windows.
Also, in 2018, the CBN signed a bilateral currency swap agreement with the People’s Republic of China worth about $2.5 billion.
The currency swap agreement was designed to aid trade transactions between China and Nigeria and remove the need to first source for United States (US) dollars before payments for transactions involving the two countries.
The CBN through the Banker’ Committee and in collaboration with all banks in Nigeria also inaugurated a centralised biometric identification system for the banking industry tagged: “Bank Verification Number (BVN).” –NAN
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