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Emefiele: CBN Passionate about Youth Empowerment, Economic Restructuring

Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has expressed commitment to various programmes targeted at youth empowerment and restructuring of the Nigerian economy in order to move it away from its over-dependence on oil revenue.
The CBN governor who made the remarks at a two-day CBN Fair, which opened in Asaba yesterday, said he was passionate about empowering youths, especially young graduates through various initiatives to support small and medium scale enterprises as well as agricultural support schemes.

He noted that the unprecedented rice pyramid witnessed in Abuja, recently and the over 160 per cent rise in the number of rice mills in the country was an evidence that the CBN’s intervention in agriculture sector was yielding fruits.

Similarly, he said the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) of the apex bank and other development finance interventions greatly helped in mitigating the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria through the various palliatives that Nigerians benefited from.
He stressed the need for all hands to be on the deck to tackle the economic challenges facing Nigeria.

The Corporate Communications Director, CBN, Mr. Osita Nwanisoba, who represented Emiefele, at the fair, noted that growing a diversified economy that would meet contemporary challenges in a sustainable manner underscored the intervention programmes of the apex bank.
He stressed the need for Nigerians to understand the history of their economy and to know how they could key into the numerous intervention programmes and schemes designed to restructure the country’s economic base from its monoculture status.

He assured that the CBN has been consistently proactive in ensuring that its initiatives were in tune with global trends, including digitalisation and smart internet innovations in the financial world.
He said the fact that Nigeria was the first country in Africa to launch a digital currency, the e-Naira on October 26, 2021, testified to the proactive state of the CBN.

He said, “First and foremost, it is important for us to know where we are coming from and where we are going, because the understanding of the past will help us to understand why the CBN is doing what it is doing. Like I said, Nigeria is a mono-product economy; mono-product because 90 per cent of our foreign exchange (FX) revenue come from oil and about 60 per cent of our expenditure also comes from oil. What this means is that whenever there is a shock out there it immediately translates to our economy.

“So, it becomes even more problematic for the CBN to be able to deal with its mandate. And, we have a clear mandate, which we understand, but we feel that to be able to actualise this mandate, there are other things we need to do, and that is, to stimulate growth, to grow the economy in a sustainable manner.

“What the CBN is doing is to diversify the economic base of this country. We are saying that there are so many and so much that we can do. We have agriculture, we have manufacturing. So, why can we deal with these things so that we will be able to produce what we eat and eat what we produce?

“Basically, that is why the CBN is intervening in the critical sectors of the economy. These are sectors that would grow the economy, create jobs, ensure that there is export so that we will be able to moderate our exchange rate and earn even more FX and grow our external reserves.”
On the significance of the e-Naira to the central bank’s efforts to restructure the economy, the representative of the CBN governor said there was need to move the country in the direction other economies were going.

“I think the first thing we have to understand is that we are gradually moving into what I will call the knowledge economy. We have also seen what digitalisation is doing across the world. Like I said earlier, as countries begin to move away from more fossil fuel to digital economy, it becomes imperative that you need to be at pace with what is going on.

“Today, we to talk about a web economy, we talk about internet economy, we talk about quantum computing and the rest of them.
“So, Nigeria felt that we needed to deal with this, leveraging on the sophisticated payment infrastructure that we have and launched its own digital currency. It is the first in Africa. It’s quite phenomenal. I think it is the sixth in the world.”
“Recently, we launched the TIES – the Tertiary Institution Entrepreneurship Scheme – the whole essence is to empower the youths so that they will unleash their productive potentials.

“Therefore, some of the takeaways from this fair is that the CBN is a listening institution. Like the CBN Governor always say, that he wants a people-centred central bank. Two, to understand that there are interventions of the CBN and to know how to leverage these interventions.”

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