Estimated reading time: 10 minute(s)
The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, on Monday said the apex bank has disbursed N1.452 trillion to 337 real sector projects in agriculture, mining and manufacturing.
Emefiele disclosed this while delivering the 40th anniversary/25th and 26th convocation lecture of the Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti (EKSU) titled: “Role of Central Banks In Managing Economic Downturn” in Ekiti state.
He maintained that they were part of interventions to sustain Nigeria’s recovery from economic meltdown.
Emefiele who was represented by CBN deputy governor for corporate affairs Edward Adamu, said, “It was indeed difficult given the number of issues our economy has faced over the past five years which include the drop of crude oil prices between 2015-2017 and more importantly the impact of the COVID-19 on our economy.
“As you may be aware, managing an economy that largely depends on crude oil and its changing price dynamics is not a simple task
“In a bid to address these challenges, we decided to focus on spurring domestic productivity in key sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing through the development of our Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) along with restrictions on the use of foreign exchange from the CBN to procure imported goods that could be produced in Nigeria,” he said.
He said after two years of contraction, the interventions had significantly helped to restore the economy to the path of growth.
Emefiele said, “We have witnessed five consecutive quarters of growth since the recovery began. Inflation which peaked at 18.17 per cent in March 2021 has been moderated to about 15.6 per cent.
“Our external reserves have risen from its low of $33 billion in March 2021 to over $40 billion, it also led to improved diaspora inflow from an average of S$6 million per week in March 2020 to an average of over $100 million per week by January 2022.”
He added further that the bank had disbursed N368.79 billion to 778,000 beneficiaries, saying the credit facility to help households and businesses that suffered significant losses during the pandemic.
Giving the breakdown of how the facility was disbursed, Emefiele said 648,052 households and owners of Small and Medium Enterprises benefited from the federal government-driven policy.
He said, “As you all know, one of the major challenges facing the Nigerian economy is over reliance on revenues and foreign exchange earnings from the sale of crude oil, even though the petrol represents just 10 percent of our GDP.
“More so, the non-oil sector, particularly agricultural and manufacturing sectors, which contribute about 30 and 13 per cent to our GDP, have been confronted with low investments, inadequate credit to the real sector and weak infrastructure.
“Furthermore, with an annual population growth rate of 2.8 percent , it was important that all efforts were made available for Nigerians, particularly in sectors that had the potential to absorb youth. We were aware that if necessary support was given to households and business , productivity will rise and investment will flow into our economy,” he stated.
Emefiele hinged the current economic downturn and hardship in the system on the economic recession of 2015-2017 and the COVID-19 pandemic that ushered In a revenue drop and reduction in foreign investment portfolio.
In his remarks, the vice chancellor of EKSU, Prof Edward Olanipekun, described the 40 years of the establishment of the university as impactful in the life of the state, saying the university has been a reliable training ground for the future leaders.