The Deputy Governor, Corporate Services of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Edward Lamatek Adamu has revealed that the plethora of economic interventions of the apex bank have saved the federal government about N1.3 trillion via import bills.
He said the savings came from improving domestic supply of four commodities (rice, fish, sugar, and wheat), which hitherto consumed about N1.3 trillion annually.
Adamu made the disclosure at the opening ceremony of the 28th Seminar for Finance Correspondents and Business Editors holding in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
He said: “We have also improved access to markets for farmers by facilitating greater partnership with agro-processors and industrial firms in the sourcing of raw materials. So far, the programme has supported more than 1.5 million farmers across all the 36 States of Nigeria, in cultivating 16 different commodities over 1.4 million hectares of farmland. It has also supported the creation of over 2.5 million jobs across the agricultural value chain”.
Adamu further revealed that the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) which was launched in November 2015, was designed to build partnerships between small holder farmers and reliable large-scale agro-processors, with a view to increasing agricultural output, while improving access to credit for farmers.
“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.
“For many countries, the objectives of monetary policy are explicitly stated in the laws establishing the Central Bank, while for others, they are not. The objectives of monetary policy may vary from country to country.
“Though we adopted unconventional or heterodox monetary policies, they were however, well thought through and have been yielding significant gains for the Nigerian economy. Noticeably, the GDP recovery in the third quarter of 2017, which has been sustained for 9 successive quarters after five consecutive quarters of negative growth”.
He said the unconventional monetary policy initiatives have been premised on ensuring credit delivery to critical sectors of the economy.
“This has informed the directive to Deposit Money Banks to maintain a minimum Loan to Deposit Ratio (LDR) of 65% by the end of December 2019. The Bank is also creating the necessary eco-system to inculcate a better credit culture among Nigerians.
“In all, there is sufficient evidence of significant reductions in our annual imports bill, and increased non-oil exports. Our Development Finance interventions has helped to bolster agricultural production by removing obstacles faced by smallholder farmers”.
In his speech, the Commissioner of Finance Imo State, Prof Uche Uwaleke disclosed that the state was set to leverage on various intervention programmes of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in its efforts to create jobs, generate higher revenue and generally boost the fortunes of the state.
In her remarks, Georgina Nwankwo, the Branch Controller, CBN, Owerri, urged journalists to up the ante in financial reporting as financial activities of the economy were still under reported.
She urged the media to deepen reporting of critical areas, especially the financial inclusion strategy of the CBN.
She said; “There’s need to train business journalists to in turn inform the public on financial issues.
While appreciating the theme of the event, Nwankwo urged participants to ensure that discussions that would trigger actions that will grow the economy are kept on the front burner.