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Ways Nigerian banks support inclusive growth, diversification of economy ─Emefiele

Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of CBN

*The Central Bank of Nigeria says the commercial banks, working with the government, must do everything possible to diversify the economy so as to reduce the current rate of unemployment and poverty in the West African country

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has restated the strategic importance of the support the banking sector of the economy in the country’s stead to diversify the economy, reduce unemployment and poverty, and ultimately, minimise the disturbing the level of insecurity in the country.

ConsumerConnect reports Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of CBN, who said this Bank’s report on sectoral utilisation of Foreign Exchange (Forex) for the third quarter of 2021, noted that Nigerian banks had done a lot to support the economy.

Emefiele disclosed the banks would still do more to catalyse the economy for growth, as they intensify efforts at increasing credit to the country’s economy.

The CBN also stated that the Federal Government spent $1.68billion on food importation from January to September in the last year.

The government spent $163.60m, $197.73million, and $171.05million January, February and March, respectively, whereas $156.30m, $135.72m and $213.58million were spent April, May and June respectively, said the Bankers’ Bank.

The report as well revealed that $184.69million, 188.88million and 271.59million were spent in July, August and September respectively.

Food production, $1.24bn food imports and economic diversification

Mr. Emefiele at the recent Bankers’ Committee retreat in Lagos, reportedly said that Nigeria could produce enough to feed hundreds of millions of its citizens.

He stated that the Nigerian Government currently, is ensuring the diversification of the economy.

“We believe that Nigeria can feed itself; Nigeria can produce what to eat. Everything needs to be done for us to move away from a situation where everything is imported.

“We need to get to a stage where we bring our manufacturing industries back to life again.

“For us to say that there is sustainable, inclusive growth in the country, we as banks, working with government must do everything possible to diversify the Nigerian economy,” said the CBN Governor.

Emefiele further said: “We have to do everything possible to reduce the rate of unemployment in the country.

“We will do everything possible to reduce the rate of poverty in our country.”

According to him, if the country is able to diversify the economy, reduce unemployment and poverty, the level of insecurity in the country will reduce.

The banks, he also noted, had done a lot to support the economy and would still do more to catalyse the economy for growth.

Raising banks’ credit to credible businesses

In a related development, the Central Bank of Nigeria has assured that the banks will increase credit to the economy.

The CBN governor noted there are several Nigerian companies that are ready to conduct credible business but do not have the capital.

“We will help in providing jobs and employment for Nigeria,” Emefiele said.

He further restated that the CBN unveiled the ‘100 for 100’ policy on production and productivity recently, with a view to engendering growth and employment in the country’s economy.

Under the programme, Emefiele stated that targeted credit of up to N5billion would be provided to 100 firms every 100 days, on the condition that such firms are investing in greenfield projects in the economy.

The projects, he also noted, will be assessed based on the companies’ capacity to generate significant employment opportunities in critical sectors for the economy.

Besides, Emefiele disclosed the eligible firms would be made to show evidence of their efforts at utilising available local raw materials to realise their intended investment objectives.

He said that the CBN remains committed to supporting eligible firms with foreign exchange to import machinery and equipment for production to grow the real sector of the country.

According to him, routine audits will be conducted on eligible firms that receive funding in order to ensure that they are complying with the terms of the programme.

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