Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele said on Sunday that hopefully in 2018 the country will witness a major turnaround in terms of infrastructural,mining and agricultural development.
The CBN boss has been under pressure of late based on his policies, said to be leading the nation gradually on to the path of Zimbabwe and hyperinflation.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported last week that food prices had risen 12.7 percent in March, compared with 11.4 percent in the previous month.
While addressing a press conference in Abuja, Emefiele stated that the issue is not only the diversification of the economy which to him, was gladdening that the Federal Government is looking into, through the introduction of various reforms.
“Basically, the issue is how the country would respond to the challenges that we are facing right now. Other than the area of investment in infrastructure, one other area has to do with structural reforms which have been suggested. These reforms had worked in the South Eastern Asian countries like Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh and that is why growth from these areas have remained fairly very strong.
“Diversification of the economy is an issue here that have been proposed as part of the structural reforms, particularly oil export producing countries should be looking at. I must say here that I am glad that Nigeria is taking the issues of diversification from oil very seriously.
“Recently, we have seen people coming to talk about investing in agriculture in Nigeria. About two weeks ago I inspected a 16,000 hectares sugar cane farm as well as a milling and refining facilities in Niger State. We have Nigerian investors looking at investing in fertilizer. So the biggest fertilizer plant in the world will be in Nigeria. We believe that over time and hopefully around the middle of early 2018 or the end of 2018, the pressure that the demand for some from these final products, the pressure that places on reserve and CBN will be substantially reduced and I think with that we can see the green light at the end of the tunnel.”
Emefile further noted that the currency swap with China plays a big role in the journey to revive the economy and since the reminbi will be included in the foreign reserves and the yuan will be allowed to flow in the banks across the Country,it will reduce the forex pressures caused by the usage of dollars.
“On the Swap, we have been holding discussions with the People’s Bank of China about the Swap arrangements which entails using of Yuan (Chinese money) transaction between Nigeria and China. At the meeting what we did was to sign a mandate agreement between the Central Bank of Nigeria and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which is the biggest in the world to act as our agent in concluding the consummation of the transaction.
“The benefits are two-fold: It affords Nigerian importers the opportunity to open letters of credit using Renminbi as a currency rather than using the Dollar. As you know, in 2015, Nigeria net import between Nigeria and China is about $15 billion. The benefit with the arrangement makes it easier for you to make your transaction in Chinese currency which put less pressure on you looking for dollars to carry out your trade transactions in China.
“Also, China has appointed South Africa as its trading hub for Southern Africa countries, while Kenya will represent East African Countries and the mandate we signed is for Nigeria to be appointed as the trading hub in the West African Sub-region. In all, it put less pressure and we expect it is going to be mutually beneficial and eventually, we will be talking to China about importing some of its own items from Nigeria so that the trading balance can be reduced. Will Nigeria benefit from this? I want to say Nigeria will benefit from it and put less pressure on the dollar and reserve.”
Thisday originally reported this story