The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has defended adoption of tight monetary policy regime which it has sustained over a period of time now.
The Bank, believed that the policy is achieving its intended outcome of containing inflation and cushioning the impact of the drop in the supply of foreign exchange in the economy.
Governor of the apex Bank, Godwin Emefiele, told a forum of Financial Journalists and Business Editors in Akure, Ondo State today Thursday March 24, that the Bank went further to introduce demand management approaches to conserve the country’s reserves and support the domestic production of certain goods.
Speaking on the theme, ” EXCHANGE RATE
MANAGEMENT AND ECONOMIC DIVERSIFICATION IN NIGERIA: THE
PAVE (Produce, Add Value and Export) OPTION, Emefiele said the Bank had encouraged manufacturers to consider local options in sourcing for raw materials by restricting access to Forex on some items. Four of these items alone, at the time, constituted over NI trillion of the
country’s annual import Bills, he revealed.
In addition to these measures, the Bank also established an Investors and Exporters Window (I&E), to allow for purchase and sale
of Forex at prevailing market rate amd moved further to liberalise the Foreign Exchange Market through the operationalization of the “Revised Guidelines for the Operation of
Nigerian Inter-bank Foreign Exchange Market” in June 2016.
The Governor, who was represented by Mr. Edward Adamu, Deputy Governor of CBN, listed other measures taken by the CBN to include: partnership with
commercial banks to go after Nigerians who falsely bought dollars under the pretense of traveling abroad and ended up roundtripping.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria had also sanctioned Bureau De Change (BDC) operators for illegal forex trading and discontinued the sale of forex to the Bureau operators in Nigeria.
” In addition, licensing of new BDCs was suspended.” he said.
In addition the CBN also introduced the ‘Naira 4 Dollar Scheme’ to encourage diaspora remittances, and as a result of the demand management policy, the naira has remained largely stable at the I & E window, particularly since the discontinuation of FX allocation to Bureau De Change operators along with the convergence between the CBN and NAFEX rates, added Emefiele.
He observed that Banks are now able to meet the demands of their customers seeking
forex for SMEs, school fees, medical and PTAs.
He further revealed that the nation’s current account deficit has narrowed significantly due to a surplus position in the goods account. “The surplus position in the goods account is occasioned by a reduction in imports, increase in crude oil and gas export receipts, and improvement in remittances.
“Remittance inflows has been supported by our ‘Naira for Dollar’ scheme, and we have seen a surge in remittance inflows.
“In our sustained effort to reduce foreign exchange demand pressure and facilitate investment, the CBN, on April 27, 2018, signed a 3-year bilateral currency swap agreement of US$2.5 billion, equivalent to ¥15.0 billion or N720.0 billion with the Peoples Bank of China (PBoC.)” he said.
These policies, the Governor said are yielding positive results in terms of meeting genuine demand for foreign exchange and exchange rate stability.
Alsi, as part of its long-term strategy for strengthening the Nigerian economy, the Bank established specific initiatives to
resolve the underlying factors acting as challenges to long-term GDP growth and economic productivity.
In this case the Bank deployed some measures to increase credit allocations to pivotal productive sectors of the economy at reasonable interest rates, with a view to diversifying the base of the economy, stimulating output, creating jobs and significantly reducing import bills.
He said, “Further to our conviction that the banking sector must pay attention to providing long-term finance for infrastructure
development in the country, InfraCorp has been established by the Central Bank of Nigeria in partnership with African Finance
Corporation and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority.
“InfraCorp would enable the use of mostly private capital to support infrastructure investment that will have a multiplier effect on growth across critical sectors.
Within the CBN, our methods (especially in the management of financial system liquidity, FX market and development financing
initiatives) have been able to optimally balance the delicate objectives of price stability and real output growth. In our desire to create jobs and diversify the economy away from crude oil, we have established numerous intervention programmes, such as Anchor
Borrowers Programmes (ABP), Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS), Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI), MSMEDF,
CBN Agribusiness, Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme
(AgSMEIS) and the Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF), among others
with remarkable success in accelerating growth of the economy and reducing poverty across the country.”
Only recently, Emefiele said that in consultation with the Banking Community, the
CBN announced the Bankers’ Committee “RT200 FX Programme”, which stands for the “Race to US$200 billion in FX Repatriation”. The RT200 FX Programme is a set of policies, plans and programmes for non-oil exports that will enable us to attain our lofty yet attainable goal of US$200 billion in FX repatriation, exclusively from non-oil exports,
over the next 3-5 years.
“The RT200 FX Programme has the following five key anchors:
▪ Value-Adding Exports Facility
▪ Non-Oil Commodities Expansion Facility
▪ Non-Oil FX Rebate Scheme
▪ Dedicated Non-Oil Export Terminal
▪ Biannual Non-Oil Export Summit Monetary