Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said that the apex bank recorded a significant increase in non-oil export repatriation in the first quarter after the take-off of its RT200 FX programme.
Emefiele, who disclosed this in his opening remarks at the maiden edition of the biannual RT200 Non-oil Export Summit in Lagos on Thursday, also said that, under the scheme CBN released over N3.5 billion through deposit money banks (DMBs) in rebates to eligible non-oil exporters, in the first quarter of this year.
Launched on February 10, 2022, as part of measures to reduce the pressure on the exchange rate, the Race to $200 billion in Foreign Exchange repatriation (RT200) programme, is an initiative of the Bankers’ Committee, aimed at raising $200 billion in non-oil export earnings over the next three to five years.
The programme is anchored on five pillars — Value-Adding Exports Facility; Non-Oil Commodities Expansion Facility; Non-Oil FX Rebate Scheme; Dedicated Non-Oil Export Terminal and Biannual Non- Oil Export Summit. The theme of the maiden non-oil export summit was: “Setting the Roadmap towards Achieving RT200 and Non-Oil Export for Development,” and it focused on the present situation in the economy, the commitment to addressing the challenges as well as driving the development and improvement of the non-oil export sector.
Emefiele said at the event that CBN would prefer to see a situation where it will stop selling dollars to banks, as the lenders would be able to generate their own dollars to meet the import needs of their customers. He said that as part of the implementation of the RT200 Programme, the summit is meant to harness ideas on how to increase the value and volume of export in the country, and improve the availability of foreign exchange therefrom.
He called on stakeholders in the non-oil exports space to collaborate with CBN and DMBs to ensure enhanced export operations, which will result in foreign exchange inflows into the country. He regretted that most of Nigeria’s current sources of foreign exchange inflows were unreliable and controlled externally.
The CBN governor said: “We have all been witnesses to the ever-changing fortunes of oil-exporting countries. Even those that have been reputed to manage their oil proceeds well also suffer from major shocks once oil prices plummet.” Emefiele stated that in order to insulate the Nigerian economy from external shocks, stakeholders need to focus on strategies that can help the country earn more stable and sustainable inflows of foreign exchange.
“As things now stand, we really have very little choice left but to look inwards and find innovative solutions to our problems. We would need to follow the best practices of other countries and ensure that we protect ourselves a little bit from factors that are beyond our immediate control,” he said. He charged presenters, panellists and participants at the summit to come up with innovative solutions to the problems of non-oil exports in Nigeria.
According to him, while the RT 200 programme’s goal of raising $200 billion in non-oil export earnings over the next three to five years might seem unattainable to some people, “we are resolute and determined that we can achieve it,” adding that “many countries that are much less endowed than Nigeria are doing it.”
He noted that although demand for dollars in the country continues to head north, CBN has been working to manage both the demand and supply side to meet foreign exchange obligations.