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Post-COVID-19 economy: Emefiele woos conglomerates

As Nigeria plans towards  the full reopening of its economy after the lockdown over the coronavirus (COVID-19), Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has urged industrial conglomerates operating in the country to support government’s efforts towards growing and returning the Nigerian economy to its glory days.

This was even as he warned that the CBN will not support the importation of items that can be produced locally as it would not spend its scarce foreign exchange reserves on what would not boost the economy and generate jobs for the citizens

Speaking at the weekend during a virtual meeting with Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of conglomerates in Nigeria, Emefiele said the CBN, in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s desire, was determined to return the economy to the period when the manufacturing and agricultural sectors were the base of the economy.

While acknowledging the challenge of low crude oil prices to major economies of the world, expressed confidence that the price of crude will not remain at low levels for a long period. He emphasized that the low crude oil prices were surmountable, and declared that Nigeria’s foreign reserves of about $37billion remained robust to support the economy.

He therefore enjoined the conglomerates to key into the current administration’s drive of diversifying the base of the economy by taking advantage of its large population to market their products, and to produce in Nigeria for export to the rest of the world.

He also pledged the bank’s willingness to provide foreign exchange to companies that required such for raw materials and machinery that could not be obtained in Nigeria.

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With regard to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA) now billed to commence in January 2021, Mr. Emefiele said Nigeria provided the companies with immense opportunities to produce their items and make huge profits through the Nigerian market, which he noted was large enough to support their respective businesses.

While speaking on the need to prioritise the Nigerian market, the CBN Governor assured the companies that the bank will collaborate with the relevant government agencies to help nip smuggling in the bud, while also promising to protect their businesses to ensure they succeed in Nigeria.


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