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The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has said the apex bank is unhappy with deposit money banks in the country as they would rather invest in Treasury Bills than perform their basic role which is to stimulate the economy.

Emefiele also said reports that Nigeria’s rice importation rose by 400,000 metric tonnes is false and fake news.

Speaking at the Nigeria Investment Conference hosted by the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Society Nigeria, the CBN governor disclosed that the role of banks is to stimulate the economy to act as catalysts to growth and development of the country.

Rather, he said they invest in Treasury Bills where they can have quick and high returns. Emefiele who was talking on the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) noted that banks are expected to partner with the CBN in achieving the goal of stimulating the economy.

“That is part of the problem we have with banks, yes you have a responsibility to work for your shareholders which is to maximise profit and what you do is to take deposits and put it in treasury bills because we feel the yield is good. We are not happy with you about that.”

Meanwhile, he affirmed that the ABP targeted at creating credit lines for small holder farmers and specific crops such as rice and cassava, has been yielding results, he queried figures of rice importation which was reported recently.

The United States Department of Agriculture World Markets and Trade Report had said Nigeria’s rice importation rose by 400,000 metric tonnes to three million in 2018. A figure the CBN governor said is false.

“I was reading a report where the United States said the volume of imports of rice increased by 400,000 tonnes. I am not a politician but people should be very mindful when they open their mouths to say what is untrue because we would come out at central bank to attack it particularly if you use data incorrectly. I seize the opportunity to say that it is untrue.

“The data that we have today shows that rice imported illegally into the country is less than 25,000 tonnes in 2018 so far. Then how come an agency that has not been to Nigeria or even been to the farms to see what we are doing would just come up and say that Nigeria has imported 400,000 tonnes above what it normally should import. Go to the data of countries that export rice, you would see their data; you would find the quantity of rice imported by Nigeria. This is false and fake news.

“I can tell you that we have empowered 800,000 farmers directly, we are not looking at the fall out. We have disbursed over N400billion to these communities and that is why it is painful when people come over and begin to say it hasn’t worked and that we are importing rice. It is very discouraging and that is why I say if you cannot join us, just keep quiet.”

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