As part of measures to ensure faster economic recovery, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that it plans to intensify implementation of its N500billion non-oil export facility. CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this in Lagos, yesterday, while speaking at the CBN/Bankers’ Committee’s initiative for economic growth, a one-day special summit (held both physically and virtually) on the economy by bank chief executive officers, with the theme: “How to Overcome the Pitfalls of Recession.”
The Q4’ 2020 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that Nigeria’s economy exited recession with GDP growth of 0.11 per cent after two consecutive quarters of negative growth. According to Emefiele, with the GDP growth of 0.11 per cent indicating that the economy still remains on a fragile recovery path, it means that the country’s fiscal and monetary authorities must step up measures this year to ensure that they stimulate growth. Specifically, as part of efforts to improve foreign exchange inflows, he said: “The CBN intends to support measures that will improve our non-oil export earnings significantly. “As a result, we intend to aggressively implement our N500 billion facility aimed at supporting the growth of our non-oil exports, which will help to improve non-oil export earnings.
“Exporters will be further encouraged to repatriate their export proceeds as stipulated under our extant laws. The CBN will continue to ensure that exporters have unfettered access to their export proceeds.” The CBN had in 2016 introduced the Non-oil Export Stimulation Facility (NESF) to engender growth in the nonoil sector of the economy as well as to drive its foreign reserve accretion.
The apex bank commenced the disbursement of the facility in March 2018. In addition to intensifying measures to boost foreign exchange inflows as part of efforts to support economic growth, the CBN Governor also pledged to adopt an accommodative monetary policy stance this year. Further, he stated: “In 2021 it is imperative that the CBN continue to provide accommodative monetary policy measures that will enable faster recovery of the economy, through improved flow of credit to households and businesses in key sectors of the economy such as Agriculture, ICT and Manufacturing.
“These measures are essential if we are to return our economy to a sustainable growth path, while reducing our exposure to volatility in commodity prices. “While accommodative monetary policy measures that will support growth remain paramount in our priorities for 2021, we would continue to pay attention to trends in inflation, as price stability is critical in guiding savings and investment decisions by households and businesses.” He expressed optimism that with the discovery and deployment of vaccines worldwide, 2021 would be a year of massive global recovery, adding that Nigeria must ensure that it is not left out.
“The banks CEOs are here, whether by moral suasion or by force, they will have to participate in this journey. In order to drive and sustain this recovery therefore, we need to sustain the accommodative fiscal and monetary policy measures aimed at improving access to finance for households and businesses. “We must prevent a resurgence in COVID-19 related cases. Thirdly, we must ensure that a significant number of our population is significantly vaccinated and also improve foreign exchange inflows into our country,” he stated. A few weeks ago, the CBN barred banks and financial institutions from dealing in or facilitating transactions in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, warning that banks which fail to act could face “severe regulatory sanctions”.