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$10bn inflow in 6 months shows rising foreign confidence—Emefiele

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has revealed that results from the effectiveness of the CBN Investor and Exporters FX window created to stabilise the naira, has seen about $10bn inflows to the economy.

Explaining more on the banking system, exchange rate and the prospect of the economy in an interactive session with publishers and editors in Lagos, he said “I must say that in six months, we have seen about $10bn inflows to Nigeria as a result of the opening of that window”.

“We are grateful to them for showing confidence in Nigeria again. But I think all this also is because President Muhammadu Buhari has always said that we had unfortunately been hit by this exogenous shocks and it had resulted in inflation and plummeting in reserves. We needed at some point to look at the items Nigeria imports into the country. Nigeria is a big market, no doubt; 180 million people growing at an average population rate of three per cent annually. It is certainly a big market.

Continuing, he linked the current drive of the federal government to original economic base of the nation which was abandoned on discovery of oil in commercial quantity.

According to him, “There was a time in Nigeria when we produced everything we were eating. We were producing rice and palm oil, among others. Nigeria was the highest producer and exporter of palm oil in the world with over 40 per cent market share some times in the 60s and 70s. But unfortunately because we found oil, we decided to take things easy”.

What we are saying is that: the President said we had tasted this before, we had done it before, it is not about re-inventing it. Our climate is good; let us fold our sleeves and begin to feed ourselves again, and save our reserves for some of those items that we cannot produce as a country. And that has led us to where we are today.

“We are delighted we put FX restriction on 41 items. We were castigated and I was reading in the Economist magazine that what we did was to just move around the home and pick items including toothpicks. I think it is important to know what we are doing. If you go to China where they are producing the toothpicks, those things can be produced in a place that is less than a quarter of a room. How much is needed to invest in the equipment that is used in producing toothpick?

“We were importing toothpicks. Bamboo is what is used in producing toothpicks. As a result of our policies, people come out of school today and they are now producing toothpick, creating jobs for our people. That is what is found in the spirit of Nigerians.

“A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a toothpick that is being produced by a Nigerian. That toothpick is stronger than the one that is being imported from China. But I think as far as we are concerned, it is about creating jobs for our people. Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava.

“We were importing starch and glucose. Nigerian companies that could produce starch and glucose would go to companies in need of starch and glucose and all the companies were telling them was our stock level was high. They said they would visit them when their stock level went low. Unfortunately, their stock level did not go low until we imposed the FX restriction on these items. Their stock level went low and they started to patronise Nigerian companies that were producing starch and glucose.

“Today, companies that require starch and glucose for their pharmaceuticals and formulations patronise Nigerians. This has created jobs for us. That is the spirit of Nigerians. This is part of the reasons the President said we needed to patronise made-in-Nigeria and I am happy that we are doing this. But I think it is also important that we thank everybody, particularly Nigerians.