The outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic has come with its devastating impacts on social and economic life around the world. While it is primarily a health scare, it has also caused some unprecedented economic damages on different sectors such as aviation, tourism & hospitality, financial services, manufacturing, logistics & supply chain, oil industry, agricultural sector and so on.
These, in addition to the crash in crude oil prices, have thrown the global economy (especially that of Nigeria) into recession. As a result of the dislocations caused by this recession and in a bid to survive, some developed and emerging countries have placed an export restriction on some of their products and supplies.
Consequently, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) believes that this presents Nigeria an opportunity to aggressively follow through with its diversification efforts. In other words, this is an opportunity for Nigeria to start producing those imported products and services that can be sourced locally. This has always been the logic behind the CBN’s restrictive foreign exchange policy which it has been implementing for some years now.
Therefore, in the medium term post-Covid-19, the CBN will roll out policies that will be targeted at renewable energy, light manufacturing, affordable housing and cutting edge research. According to information contained in a letter by the CBN Governor titled “Turning the Covid-19 tragedy into a new opportunity for Nigeria”, these policies will entail the following:
- Setting aside an initial intervention fund of N500 billion over the medium term for manufacturers to procure state of the art machinery and equipment and automated manufacturing models that will fast track local production and support increased patronage of locally made products.
- Supporting and financing environmentally-friendly energy production with long term health benefits.
- The apex bank will encourage efforts aimed at driving innovation and research in every sector through our universities, research institutions, creative industries initiative and all other media of novelty and inventions.