Emefiele unveils economic policy direction for 2022 - THE NATION
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has outlined the policy focus of the bank for 2022, with a pledge to sustain improved access to finance and credit for households and businesses, mobilise investment to boost domestic productivity, enable faster growth of non-oil exports, and support employment generating activities.
Emefiele disclosed this in his keynote address at the 2021 Annual Bankers’ Dinner of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) held in Lagos on Friday, November 26.
While noting that the country had been able to contain some of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, he stressed the need for all stakeholders “to work to build a more resilient economy that is better able to contain external shocks, whilst supporting growth and wealth creation in key sectors of our economy.”
According to him, a major lesson from the COVID-19 pandemic was that deliberate efforts must be made to diversify the base of the Nigerian economy. He, therefore, noted that “as the true African Giant, we must fold our sleeves and do everything possible to stop the incidence of importing anything and everything’’.
“Proactive steps on the part of stakeholders in the private sector in collaboration with the government in supporting the growth of sectors such as Manufacturing, ICT, and Infrastructure, will strengthen our ability to deal with the challenges of COVID-19, and stimulate further growth of our economy,” he added.
Speaking on the need to build an efficient infrastructure ecosystem in Nigeria and the role of improved infrastructure to the development of the Nigerian economy, he disclosed that all necessary approvals had been obtained for the full commencement of the Infrastructure Corporation (Infracorp), in early 2022.
He further disclosed that the sum of N1 trillion had so far been provided as seed funds by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) working in partnership with critical stakeholders such as the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and African Finance Corporation (AFC) to support the operations of Infracorp. He reiterated that the Infracorp, which is expected to raise over N15 trillion to support investment in critical infrastructure in Nigeria, would also leverage private sector capital in funding the over N35trillion infrastructure deficit.
He said the CBN was also working to set up an International Financial Center at the Eko Atlantic City in Lagos, that would serve as a hub for attracting domestic and external capital which is needed to strengthen the country’s post-covid economy. He said the center, when fully operational in the second quarter of 2022, will help to position Nigeria as a key destination for investment in Africa.
Speaking further, Mr. Emefiele said the CBN recently unveiled the 100 for 100 policy on production and productivity to engender growth and employment. He explained that, under the programme, targeted credit of up to N5bn will be provided to 100 firms every 100 days, provided that the firms are investing in projects that are greenfield projects.
He said the projects will be assessed on their ability to generate significant employment opportunities in critical sectors for the Nigerian economy, adding that eligible firms would be made to show evidence of their efforts to harness available local raw materials towards the realization of their intended investment.
The CBN Governor said the Bank remained committed to supporting eligible firms with foreign exchange to import machinery and equipment, even as he noted that routine audits will be conducted on firms that receive funding, to ensure that they are complying with the terms of the programme.
He expressed optimism that the 100 for 100 policy would significantly help to catalyze growth in critical sectors of our economy, while aiding the country’s efforts to create employment opportunities and reduce Nigeria’s dependence on imported goods.
Reviewing the efforts made by the Management of the CBN to galvanize private sector support for revamping the economy at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which witnessed among others, a drop in foreign exchange supply, inflation and disruptions in supply distribution, Emefiele recalled that the Bank worked with the fiscal authorities in instituting strong policy support measures capped under the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP). These measures, he said, were designed to contain the effects of the pandemic, restore stability to the economy by helping households and businesses affected by the pandemic and to economy out of the woods through massive interventions to critical sectors.