A report from the CBN shows how dependent the country has been on imported food items as the Federal Government spent a whopping $1.68 billion from January to September last year to support food importation.
This information was disclosed in the Central Bank of Nigeria's report on the sectoral utilization of foreign exchange for the third quarter of 2021.
Apparently, the government spent $163.60m, $197.73m, and $171.05m in January, February, and March, respectively, while $156.30m, $135.72m, and $213.58m were spent in April, May, and June, respectively. The governor said
The report also revealed that $184.69m, $188.88m, and $271.59m were spent in July, August, and September, respectively.
Assessing the worrying trend of import spending on food items, the CBN governor reassured all that the country has the capacity and potential to drastically reduce this spending.
This he stated during the just concluded Bankers’ Committee retreat held in Lagos.
He said that the government was accelerating all moves to diversify the economy and put the country on a path to economic growth.
"We believe that Nigeria can feed itself; Nigeria can produce what to eat. Everything needs to be done for us to move away from a situation where everything is imported.
"We need to get to a stage where we can bring our manufacturing industries back to life again. For us to say that there is sustainable, inclusive growth in the country, we, as banks, working with the government, must do everything possible to diversify the Nigerian economy.
"We have to do everything possible to reduce the rate of unemployment in the country. We will do everything possible to reduce the rate of poverty in our country", Emefiele said.
According to him, if the country can successfully diversify the economy, unemployment, poverty, crime, and insecurity will decrease.
The governor assured all that the CBN has done so much to revive the economy and will continue to implement policies that will drive economic growth.
He said that the bank, through the commercial banks and development banks, has increased credit lending to the economy and will continue to do so.
The CBN governor also used the opportunity to inform people about the ‘100 for 100’ policy aimed at increasing the production capabilities of the country.
"Under the ‘100 for 100’ program, targeted credit of up to N5bn will be provided to 100 firms every 100 days, provided the firms are investing in greenfield projects."
"The projects would be assessed based on their ability to generate significant employment opportunities in critical sectors for the economy, adding that eligible firms would be made to show evidence of their efforts to harness available local raw materials towards the realization of their intended investment", he concluded.
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