Nigeria can no longer depend on oil revenues – Emefiele

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, again stressed that Nigeria can no longer depend on oil revenues, emphasizing the need for a more diversified economy.

The apex bank governor, who spoke at the first edition of the biannual RT 200 non-oil export summit, at Eko Hotels in Lagos, lamented that the Nigerian economy has been challenged on many fronts in recent years due to a combination of and global factors, including disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, delays in global logistics value chains and local security concerns.

These, he said, have put undue pressure on the national economy, making macroeconomic management very difficult.

“These factors have impacted oil production and prices, disrupted trade and exports, reduced capital inflows and impacted food production. They also exposed the fragility of the Nigerian economy and the need for a more diversified economy.

“Faced with the challenges, the apex bank has faced increasing demand for foreign currency for goods, services and other needs,” he said.

With demand constant, Emefiele said the bank is trying to manage both demand and supply to meet foreign exchange obligations.

He noted that this, among other things, necessitated the unveiling of the RT200 FX program in February, an initiative by the Committee of Bankers to raise $200 billion in non-oil export revenue over the next three to five years.

The CBN Governor added, “As things stand, we really have no choice but to look within and find innovative solutions to our problems. Monetary policy alone cannot bear the full weight of the expected adjustments needed to manage these difficulties.

“These issues call for the urgent design and consistent implementation of other broad-based, coordinated, supportive, structural and complementary policies that focus on complementarity to the work of the monetary authority.”

He revealed that after the first quarter of program implementation, a significant increase in the repatriation of non-oil exports was recorded, while more than 3.5 billion naira in rebates were paid to eligible exporters.

At the summit, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu stressed the need for the country to shift from an overreliance on oil and gas to agricultural products, solid minerals, chemicals, furniture and clothing as well as tourism, among others.

He urged Nigeria to discourage overreliance on mono-revenue, which is oil, stressed the need to increase exports while adding that a country in need of foreign exchange does not have to minimize the importance of exports.

From Abiodun Alade & Christiana T. Alabi, Lagos

Sallie R. Loera