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Nigeria has nothing to worry about Brexit—Emefiele

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Okey Onyenweaku, Washington D.C, USA

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele has allayed the fears of Nigerians who express anxiety that the Brexit might have adverse implications for the Nigeria economy given the trade ties and other relationships it maintains with Britain.

Speaking at the ongoing World Bank/ IMF Spring meetings, Yesterday, Mr. Emefiele said Nigeria’s trade relations with Britain was not as huge as that of China and America to be able to upset Nigeria’s economy.

Emefiele said ‘’Let me say that the Brexit thing is one, about immigration and also about trade opportunities. On trade, I would say that though Britain and Nigeria yes, we have trade relationship, but not as strong as what we have with China and Untied States.

For instance, China is Nigeria’s strongest trading partner followed by the United States.

And I had imagined that Britain comes quite low in the scale.’’

He explained that Nigeria economic managers were strategically taking the right steps to ensure a sustainable growth.

He said that tight monetary policy as well as reduction on import bill would continue this year in order to stimulate sustainable growth and development of the country.

He assured the apex bank was committed to ensure that the Nigerian financial system was not only sound, but would be able to support the real sector in boosting Nigeria’s growth and development.

He said: “Although monumental feats have been achieved by the CBN in various aspects of development finance, foreign exchange management, financial inclusion and payments system in the past five years, challenges remain.”

Emefiele revealed that the foreign reserves of Nigeria has risen to N45 billion from about N26 billion in 2016, stressing that the CBN in its quest to ensure greater accessibility to forex, established the Investors’ and Exporters (I& E) Window in April 2017 as well as the forex window for Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs

“The I & E Window allows investors and exporters to purchase and sell foreign exchange at the prevailing rate. Since its establishment, the CBN has recorded about $35 billion in autonomous inflows through this Window alone. As a result, exchange rate pressures eased considerably across all markets as the rates converged to about N360/$ and the distortive premium almost eliminated.  At the Bureau De Change segment, there has been a significant appreciation of the Naira from over N525 per dollar in February 2017 to about N360 per dollar today. Rates at the I & E Window also appreciated from nearly N382 per dollar in May 2017 to just over N360 per dollar. In addition, exchange rate pressures normally witnessed during the general election cycles.” He also said

Stressing further on the impact of the policy Emefiele noted that there has been a boost in local production of the items of 43 items banned, adding that the policy has created domestic demand for the items concerned, employment generation, substantial forex owing to the reduction in the import bills of the country and improved domestic capacity.

He disclosed that the CBN intervention in the area of agriculture, manufacturing, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and infrastructure has yielded multiplier effect on the economy.Commenting on its Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) initiative, he said: “This scheme stands out as one of the major achievements of the Bank in its intervention effort. The goal of the programme is to collaborate with anchor companies involved in the production and processing of key agricultural commodities. Under the ABP, anchor firms serve as off-takers without-growers involved in production. As at December 2018, a total sum of N174.48 billion had been disbursed through 19 participating Financial Institutions (FPIs) to finance 902,518 farmers, working with 194 anchor companies. During the period, 2807,775 and 8,423,325 direct and indirect jobs respectively had been created under ABP.”

The CBN Governor stated that the Bank also recorded major achievement in the last five years in the area of National Collateral Registry (NCR), which was put in place in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation, IFC.

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