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In recognition of his contribution to stabilising the Nigerian economy amidst recession, CBN governor Godwin Emefiele has bagged “Guardian Economic Personality of the Year 2017’’ award.
Emefiele’s was also recognized for the CBN’s effort in development financing.
Emefiele was presented with honour at a ceremony held Eko Hotels and Suites, in Lagos on Saturday.
The President and Chairman of Council, Chartered Institute of bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Prof. Segun Ajibola, commended Emefiele and his team at the CBN for their efforts at managing the Nigerian financial sector and intervening in critical sectors of the economy, particularly agriculture.
In his acceptance remarks, Emefiele expressed appreciation to The Guardian for selecting him for the award and commended the outfit for its foresight and thoughtfulness at publishing the report on “Financing the Economy”.
The CBN governor noted that the exposure of the Nigerian economy to global shocks was a reflection of the fact that Nigeria, as a country, was unable to sufficiently produce what its people consume; hence the huge dependence on foreign goods.
He attributed the inability of the country to sufficiently produce what it consumes to heavy dependence on oil sector to provide the foreign exchange needed to finance the country’s imports.
Emefiele also attributed it to the poor diversification of the economy and low factor productivity in key non-oil sector.
He also identified the ostentatious and elitist taste for imported goods in Nigeria and the inadequate finance to strategic high impact and high employment multiplier sectors as major challenges facing the economy.
He noted that the level of credit in the domestic economy channelled to productive private sector was critically below the levels required to place the Nigerian economy on the path of balanced, sustainable, and inclusive growths, Emefiele gave the assurance that and the banks in Nigeria would continue to be catalysts to development in Nigeria, particularly as it concerned the vulnerable and needy in the society.
According to him, following a joint initiative by the banks in 2016, each bank contributed five per cent of its profit after tax to support the development initiatives of the government.
He further disclosed that the contributions to the fund was nearing the N60 billion mark, adding that the CBN and deposit money banks had concluded plans to unfold the disbursement criteria of the funds to the vulnerable sector in Nigeria, which he said needed access to credit.
On the efforts by the Bank in countering the adverse effects of the global shocks, he said the CBN embarked on a number of short- term and long-term policies such as a cycle of monetary tightening to rein in inflation; external reserves management through the restriction of foreign exchange for imports of goods that can be produced in Nigeria.
The Bank, he explained, also established a decisive withdrawal of the “de facto” subsidy for the importation of 41 non-essential commodities with unfolding successes, introduced various policies to eliminate FX speculators, bettors, round-trippers and rent-seekers and thereby stabilise the exchange rate with the establishment of the Investors-Exporters Window among others.
Emefiele said the sum of ₦393.5 billion had been released to 478 large scale agricultural projects since inception in 2010, even as the Bank was poised to disburse up to ₦400 billion at only 9.0 percent interest rate under the Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF).
He said that the strategic initiative was targeted at projects in manufacturing and agriculture, given the mutual interdependence of both sectors for the complete industrialization of agro-allied business.
He also disclosed that under the Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), established in 2011, more than 224 projects valued at over ₦33.0 billion were guaranteed for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture’s Growth Enhancement Scheme.
Under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), he reported that the domestic rice production had increased many folds and its imports had crashed substantially.