Uche Usim, Iyamho, Edo State
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele on Friday said that there was no better time to diversify the Nigerian economy than now because the era of crude oil boom was over and that the commodity can never rise above $100 a barrel anymore as was the case few years ago.
Speaking as a guest lecturer at the first convocation ceremony of Edo University, Iyamho, Edo State, Emefiele said, “oil price can never get to above $100 per barrel in our lifetime.
“So, we must just diversify our economy now. We must embrace agriculture and grow the manufacturing sector. It’ll create jobs and generate money into our bank accounts. No more oil”.
Emefiele who delivered the convocation lecture titled; “The Role of Monetary Policy: Towards Economic Growth in Nigeria” also said there was no apologies for the shut land borders because different countries work with diverse economic policies that suit them.
He said despite criticisms from certain quarters over the apex bank’s monetary policies, the country has remained better for actions it has taken.
“Our unorthodox and unconventional monetary policy is yielding results. We’re not deterred. We can’t allow people to smuggle and dump goods here and kill our local producers. We owe no one any apologies as long as we’re creating jobs and growing the economy.
“For an economy like ours, which is yet to attain its full potential, utilitarian welfare maximization requires a functional consideration for real growth. Thus, growth objectives cannot be overlooked. The CBN Act 2007, in recognizing this, provided the Bank with the legal backing to undertake developmental functions that are consistent with price stability. This has enabled the bank to simultaneously promote the development of financial markets and stimulate the growth of the real sector,” he explained.
The CBN Governor, however, lamented that Nigeria’s overdependence on crude oil for over 60 percent of fiscal revenue and over 90 percent of FX inflows, meant that shocks in the oil market were transmitted entirely to the economy via the FX markets as manufacturers and traders who required FX for input purchases were faced with dwindling supplies.
On various interventions by the apex bank, Emefiele said the Anchor Borrowers Programme has helped to bolster agricultural production by removing obstacles faced by smallholder farmers.
“We have also improved access to markets for farmers by facilitating greater partnership with agro-processors and industrial firms in the sourcing of raw materials.
“So far, the programme has supported more than 1.5m farmers across all the 36 states of Nigeria, in cultivating 16 different commodities over 1.4 million hectares of farmland. It has also supported the creation of over 2.5m jobs across the agricultural value chain”.
In his remarks, the Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki said his administration has invested massively in agriculture and has so far employed 5,000 people.
He said there was fresh strategic investment in the textile industry that will be housed in the proposed $200 million Edo industrial park that will spring up soon. He said the state was challenged by poor infrastructure like roads needed to take the agricultural produce to the right market.
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Edo University, Iyamho, Emmanuel Aluyor said the school has ensured students are not detained via strike as the school runs on a reliable template.
He added the university produced five first class and 25 students with second class upper division. He described the institution as the first to acquire sophisticated learning materials, smart classrooms, equipped libraries, among others. “All programmes were fully accredited and approved by NUC. Also secured professional bodies approvals like ICAN, NMDC etc,” he added.