June 16, (THEWILL)- The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed plans to reduce the country’s import bill by about 35 percent.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, made this known on Tuesday, while receiving a delegation from the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG), led by its Governor, Buah Saidy.
According to Emefiele, Nigeria currently has the potential to export and earn foreign currency from the production of urea for local production of fertiliser as well as petroleum products as soon as the Dangote refineries begin operations by the first quarter of next year. This, he said, would help to reduce importation by about 35 per cent.
He said: “And we believe with time Nigeria will really be a greater country than it is today. We don’t think we are great yet because we have high import dependence in the country and we are doing everything possible to reduce imports.
“But like you know, when we are able to reduce imports, encourage exports and encourage consumption spending and investment, those are some of the parameters that will ultimately boost our economy so that we can continue to see rapid growth in our GDP and see prosperity for our people.”
He said a country with a population of over 200 million should have food security, pointing out that this was why the CBN was aggressively looking into the area of food and, “where we can use our own available raw materials to produce what we need in our country.”
Emefiele also said the apex bank was doing everything possible, apart from looking at currency adjustment when necessary, to confront issues of supply management and ensure that economy grows.
He said the CBN had adopted demand management strategies that will help to curtail imports and ensure that some of those goods that can be produced locally are not imported.
He added that President Muhammadu Buhari’s drive to diversify the economy had already started to yield positive results.
Emefiele also disclosed that the CBN’s vast experiences in IT and cybersecurity had been proven to be impregnable to hackers.
He said: “There were some protests sometime last year and when the protest was going on we saw that people were trying to hack into systems and they tried to hack into the CBN systems.
“I got a message that the CBN system had been hacked into and I said the CBN system cannot be hacked into. I called our Director in charge of IT and she responded that we have enough firewalls that prevented the hack into our system. So those are the kinds of experiences we can share with you though expensive but will share them with you and think of how to work together to collaborate with yours.”