Consume local products, forex support may stop, Emefiele tells Nigerians

The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, has urged Nigerians to support the production and consumption of local products, as the country may not have foreign exchange to support some activities in the future.

He spoke during the 2019 annual bankers’ dinner in Lagos on Friday night.

Emefiele while speaking on the topic, ‘Strong sustainable growth for the Nigerian Economy’, said, “We must therefore support measures that will drive domestic productivity and diversify our export base.

“We should encourage Nigerians to consume goods that can be produced in Nigeria, knowing full well that a time will come when we may not have the foreign exchange to aid such activities, if we continue to rely on earnings from the export of crude oil.”

He said it was possible to envision a productive Nigerian economy not reliant on crude oil exports.

At some point in Nigeria’s history, he said, the country had an economy that supported productive activities, which created multiple streams of earnings for the nation.

He recalled that in the 60s, Nigeria’s economy was heavily reliant on agriculture, with increased cultivation and exports of primary products such as cocoa, palm oil, cotton and groundnut.

The CBN governor said, “The agricultural sector in 1961 represented close to 70 per cent of Nigeria’s gross domestic product, and generated close to 70 per cent of our export earnings.

“It was the principal source of employment, as over 85 per cent of Nigerians lived in rural communities. These agricultural products also supported the food needs of our nation and provided raw materials for emerging industries.”

He noted that the revenues generated from the export of these products helped to fund the infrastructure and human capital needs of the various regions.

“We are all aware of how the export earnings from cocoa built the Cocoa House in Ibadan; export earnings from palm plantations supported the development of agricultural settlements in the eastern region and the Trans Amadi Industrial Layout in Port Harcourt.” he said.

According to him, the sale of groundnuts and cotton supported developments in the northern region.
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