President Muhammadu Buhari has said the country’s external reserves increased from $33.42bn in April to $36bn in May.
The President stated this during his 2020 Democracy Day Speech on Friday.
He said, “The external reserves grew from $33.42 billion on April 29th 2020 to about $36.00 billion in May 2020 which is enough to finance seven months of import commitments. We have witnessed eleven quarters of consecutive GDP growth since exiting recession. The GDP grew from 1.91% in 2018 to 2.27% in 2019 but declined to 1.87% in the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the decline in global economic activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Also, the Federal Government assured Nigerians that it would revamp the cotton, textile and garment sector via a CBN Textile Revival Intervention Fund that would considerably reduce foreign exchange spent on cotton and other textile imports.
According to the President, his administration intends tackling food security with an initiative tagged “Grow What We Eat” and “Eat What We Grow”.
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“I am also delighted that more and more Nigerians are taking advantage of the opportunities in the agriculture and agri-business sector. I assure you that the government will continue to support the Agriculture sector through the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme and similar schemes. To protect our farming investments, we have deployed 5,000 Agro-Rangers and employed 30,289 in our para-military agencies.
“We are also integrating rural communities to the formal economy by extending access to credit and inputs to rural farmers and building feeder roads. Our efforts on growing non-oil exports have started to yield some results. For instance, in the past year, our revenue from Cocoa and Sesame Seed increased by $79.4 million and $153 million.”
“Africa presents a huge opportunity for our export base diversification and we are developing our strategy to grow intra-Africa trade through the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement. Nigeria has risen by 25 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking from 146th to 131st and is now rated as one of the top ten reforming countries.
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“This development is due to the Visa on Arrival policy, consistent promotion of initiatives that expand facilities available to Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, robust electronic registration and payment system seamless processing of business registration and reduction of cost of registering business by 50%. We are confident that on-going efforts would result in further improvement of this rating. We remain committed to expanding our mining sector. To this end, I have directed the resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant based on Government-to-Government financing and a Public-Private Sector financing.
“With foreign and domestic investments and the participation of Small Scale Miners, we are harnessing the supply value chain in gold production. We would also be launching a fully digitized mineral rights management platform for quick processing of mineral rights application, digitization of records and plugging revenue leakages.”