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Shift Focus To Local Production, Emefiele Tells Investors



Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, has charged investors to stake their resources on the local production of goods and services instead of the current importation crave.

He declared that Nigerian banks were healthy while the economy was large enough to make return for any genuine investment.

Emefiele, who noted that the foreign exchange restrictions imposed by the apex bank on some items had not hindered the flow of foreign exchange into the country, said that foreign investors had a huge opportunity to invest in Nigeria.

He said: “If you are a foreign direct investor that is interested in doing business in Nigeria, I will say instead of you facilitating the import of these items into Nigeria, we want you to come and produce them in Nigeria.

“Nigeria is a market of over 200 million people, so you do not have a choice than to bring your investment plans and equipment to  produce that item in Nigeria so that the people can consume it. You will make your profit and take your dividend out of the country,” he said.

On the health of the Nigerian banking industry, Emefiele asserted that the strategic health of the sector remains very strong.

Commenting on the Financial Stability Report which stated that seven bank had failed the stress test, the CBN governor said that the bank had as a matter of policy since 2015 “tried to avoid being sensational about stress-testing.”

He explained that “stress-testing has become part of our normal routine, in trying to check the strategic health of all the banks in the industry. So, what we do is that from time to time, maybe one bank failed one ratio or the other and we advise that the bank should improve on the ratio – whether it is capital adequacy ratio, liquidity ratio, or other forms of ratios that have been prescribed to the banking industry.

“So, the fact that you read that seven banks failed stress-test does not mean that those banks are weak; what we are saying is that there are areas that they are weak. We try to make sure they address them. If for instance, they fail capital adequacy ratio, we counsel them about how to resolve it. So, it has nothing to do with the weakness of any bank that would lead to any panic or systemic crisis in the industry,” he said.

On the Loan-to-Deposit Ratio (LDR), Emefiele said that access to credit was an issue that had to be tackled, noting that the CBN and the Bankers’ Committee had used various means to get banks to lend more. According to him, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) having reviewed the LDR discovered that it had been dropping.

“So, at the July meeting where the average industry LDR was found to be 57 per cent, we had to impose a three per cent increase from 57 to 60 per cent. And luckily the banks have done marvellous work trying to embrace this. Most of them have actually worked with us and we saw loans rising from about N15.3 trillion in the banking industry in July to about N16.3 trillion, which is a remarkable and phenomenal increase.

“These loans are being channelled not only to agriculture, to manufacturing, to SMEs, and to consumer credit. And the fact that we are saying that the banks should place more emphasis on the private sector rather than just buying securities which are zero risk instruments and the rest of them. We are happy that they are complying and it is such that moved it from 60 to 65 is another push towards making sure that we achieve this objective.

“We have been talking about the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate being about two per cent or 1.9 per cent, but we think that doing this makes it easy for the people to raise loans from banks which will help to spur consumer demand, will help to spur manufacturing output, which will itself positively impact on output and GDP. And that is the reason we are calling on everybody, the banks to participate and I am sure that all of you here know that the banks are living up to expectation,” he said.