BY VICTOR OSOWOCHI – The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says Nigeria has saved over N1.3 trillion in import bill following its on-going interventions in key products within the nation’s agricultural sector.
According to the apex bank, the savings are made possible through targeted intervention schemes that include the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS) and the Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF).
Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, of the CBN, Edward Lametek Adamu, said the apex bank’s increased lending to the agricultural and manufacturing sectors is aimed at improving domestic supply of four commodities, rice, fish, sugar and wheat that currently consume about N1.3 trillion yearly in import bill.
Speaking on the theme: “Galvanising Development Finance and Monetary Policy For Growth”, at its 28th Seminar for Finance Correspondents and Business Editors in Owerri, Adamu said the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP). launched in November 2015 and designed to build partnerships between small holder farmers and reliable large-scale agro-processors, is already achieving its objective of increasing agricultural output and improving access to credit for farmers in the country.
Adamu, represented by the CBN’s Director, Corporate Communications Department, Isaac Okorafor, said; “Our targeted focus on the agricultural and manufacturing sectors was driven by the vast opportunities for growth in these sectors given our high population. These sectors have the ability to absorb the growing pool of eligible workers in our effort to meet local demand and save critical foreign reserves.”
He explained that CBN’s efforts at these development finance initiatives have assisted to accelerate the actualisation of the Federal Government’s economic diversification programme, adding that diversifying the economic base presented a more sustainable and stable option.
“It is our conviction that focusing our developmental efforts on sectors with inherent potential for growth, employment and accretion to foreign reserves would enhance the fortune of the Nigerian economy”, the CBN Deputy Governor said.
In his opening remarks at the event, the CBN Spokesperson, Mr Isaac Okoroafor said the greatest need of Nigerian economy is growth, and all hands must be on deck, working together to achieve this noble goal.
Noting that the nation’s porous borders have allowed influx of fake goods to compete with Nigerian products, Okoroafor said government’s current moves at protecting and safeguarding the borders are yielding positive results.
The CBN image maker however maintained that government polices would not work well in a situation where the borders are left unprotected for illegal activities to thrive.