The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has identified its various interventions in key sectors of the economy as driver for the significant improvement in the country’s non-oil exports.
CBN Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Edward  Adamu stated stated at the ongoing 28th Seminar for Finance journalists tagged, “Galvanizing Development of Finance and Monetary Policy Growth” in Owerri, Imo State that its policies were designed to fast track economic growth which has led to a reduction in annual Imports Bill recorded in the country.

Represented by the Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr Isaac Okorafor Adamu said the bank has put mechanisms in place to promote non-oil exports.
“Our Development Finance interventions have helped to bolster agricultural production by removing obstacles faced by smallholder farmers.
“We have also improved access to markets for farmers by facilitating greater partnership with agro-processors and industrial firms in the sourcing of raw materials.
“So far, the programme has supported more than 1.5 million farmers across all the 36 States of the country in cultivating 16 different commodities on over 1.4 million hectares of farmland.
“It has also supported the creation of over 2.5 million jobs across the agricultural value chain ” he said.
The deputy governor also urged the media to play a critical role in conveying a deeper understanding of the bank’s commitment to economic growth and development.
Making reference to some of the bank’s intervention, he said it was the CBN’s intervention in the rice value chain in Kebbi and other rice-producing states across the country that increased local production from 2.5 million tonnes in 2015 to 5.8 million tonnes in 2017.
Adamu also said that the bank was also supporting cotton intervention with the inauguration of the input distribution to 150,000 cotton farmers, cultivating 150,000 hectares in 23 states of the federation.
Though we adopted unconventional or heterodox monetary policies, they were, however, well thought through and have been yielding significant gains for the Nigerian economy. Noticeably, the GDP recovery in the third quarter of 2017, which has been sustained for 9 successive quarters after 5 consecutive quarters of negative growth.

On monetary policies, Adamu said “The unconventional monetary policy initiatives have been premised on ensuring credit delivery to critical sectors of the economy. This has informed the directive to Deposit Money Banks to maintain a minimum Loan to Deposit Ratio (LDR) of 65% by the end of December 2019. The Bank is also creating the necessary eco-system to inculcate a better credit culture among Nigerians,”

He further stated that  improved access to markets for farmers has facilitated better partnership with agro-processors and industrial firms in the sourcing of raw materials, as the programme has so far supported more than 1.5m farmers across all the 36 States of Nigeria, in cultivating 16 different commodities over 1.4 million hectares of farmland.
He added the apex bank’s intervention also supported the creation of over 2.5m jobs across the agricultural value chain.
According to the CBN deputy governor, additional intervention into cassava is on the way as the commodity has many different uses along the value chain with a potential of providing over 2 million jobs.

FG raises concern over high cost of crude oil production, others
Mbah Okemsinachi, Yenagoa
The Federal Government has expressed concern over the rising cost per barrel of Crude oil production in the country, describing it as an anomaly that has erodes our net revenue from crude oil sales and depletes the resources meant for development.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, while speaking during the 9th Annual Practical Nigerian Content (PNC) Forum organised by CWC Africa in partnership with the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCBMD) with the theme, “Leveraging Local Expertise for Market Growth & Expansion”, in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, said that the nation’s cost of production per barrel of crude oil is one of the highest among the organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Sylva said the Federal Government under President Muhammad Buhari is doing all possible to increase the contribution of the oil sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and guarantee the security of oil production,” We must, therefore, take practical steps to ensure that we curtail the various elements that contribute to the high cost of production”.
He also noted that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources under his supervision has selected key priority areas to contribute to the improve production, low cost of production of crude and the increase in the volume of the production capacity of the Country.
According to him, the areas include the Eradication of smuggling of PMS across Nigerian Borders; the Completion of Gas Flare Commercialization Program; Increase of Crude Oil production to 3 million barrels per day and Reduction of the cost of Crude Oil production by at least 5 per cent.
“Other priorities include; the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill; Increase of domestic refining capacity and implementation of the amended Deep Offshore & Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act. The key outcomes of these priority areas will be Job creation and Poverty Reduction, which are the cardinal aspirations of the Next Level Agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Government.”
On the local content drive of the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCBMD) under the leadership of the Executive Secretary, Engr. Simbi Wabote, Chief Timipre Sylva commended the Board and declared that the Federal Government is impressed with its performance over the years.
“At the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, we are proud of Nigerian Local Content achievements in the oil and gas sector. We are delighted at the various capacities and capabilities that have been put in place since the enactment of the Nigerian Content law”, he said.
Also speaking, Mr Victor Okonkwo, the Managing Director of Aiteo E&P Limited, operator of the 45per cent stake in OML 29 and the Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL). OML 29 in entirely Situated within Bayelsa state, noted that the company represent a testimony of what local content, underpinned by dogged entrepreneurship can achieve,” In Aiteo we are nearly 98 per cent locally staffed and our contractors are largely local. Our procurement of goods and services are also mainly through local suppliers.”
He, however, noted with concern that one of the biggest challenges, we face in our operations is the security of our pipelines and oil facilities. Our pipelines and flowlines are constantly vandalized by unscrupulous elements tagged ‘crude oil thieves’ attempting to cause economic sabotage to our Company and the people of this great Country.

Equities market extends losing streak by 0.17% to N22bn
Motolani Oseni
The equities market closed on a negative note on Tuesday, as crucial market indices of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) extended losing streak with a decline of 0.17 per cent to N22 billion.
Specifically, the market capitalisation recorded a depreciation of 22 billion or 0.17 per cent to close at N13.005 trillion against N13.027 trillion on Monday.
Also, the All-Share Index (ASI) which opened at 26,990.59 lost 46.27 points or 0.17 per cent to close at 26,944.32.
The downturn was impacted by losses recorded in medium and large capitalised stocks, amongst which are; Guinness Nigeria, Stanbic IBTC Holdings, MTN Nigeria, Chemical and Allied Product and Lafarge Africa.
Analysts at Afrinvest Limited said “We maintain a bearish outlook on the market in the near term as investors book profit following gains in the prior weeks.”
Consequently, market breadth closed negative with 13 gainers compared with 19 losers.
Ikeja Hotel led the losers’ chart in percentage terms, dropping by 9.73 per cent to close at N1.02 per share.
Champion Breweries came second with a decline of 8.82 per cent to close at 93k, while Law Union & Rock Insurance dipped 8.45 per cent to close at 65k per share.
Chams lost 7.89 per cent to close at 35k, while Guinness declined by 6.45 per cent to close at N29 per share.
Conversely, Okomu Oil recorded the highest price to lead the gainers’ table in percentage terms, gaining 9.87 per cent to close at N54.55 per share.
eTranzact followed with a gain 9.66 per cent to close at N2.61, while Royal Exchange and Wapic Insurance appreciated by 8.33 per cent each, to close at 26k and 39k per share, respectively.
Jaiz Bank improved by 4.55 per cent to close at 69k, while Unilever appreciated by 4.24 per cent to close at N18.45 per share.
The total volume traded declined by 23.33 per cent as investors bought and sold 189.01 million shares worth N2.88 billion exchanged in 3,314 deals.
This was in contrast with 246.51 million shares valued at N2.44 billion achieved in 3,093 deals on Monday.
Access Bank dominated the activity chart with an exchange of 35.41 million shares worth N324.55 million.
Guaranty Trust Bank followed with 34.61 million shares worth N1.05 billion, while Zenith Bank accounted for 18.37 million shares valued at N342.41 million.
United Bank for Africa sold 15.91 million shares worth N111.79 million, while Fidelity Bank transacted 7.80 million shares valued at N15.69 million.