CBN’s promises to exporters, importers and matters arising



The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) surely knows how to rollout lofty  policies and promises to Nigerian exporters, importers and business  generally. The bank is also quick to assure beneficiaries of its  readiness to ensure the policy workout as planned, however, years after  many of the apex bank’s policies, interventions and programmes do not
appear to be successful as envisaged by the bank, writes JOHNMARK UKOKO.

Recently, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced its new initiative  named CBN $200 billion through RT 200 designed to boost non-oil exports  in the country.  It also promised that it has made provision for $ 200 billion foreign  exchange (forex) in the next three to five years to boost non-oil  exports by local companies.  Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele, who announced the new initiative at  the end of the last Bankers Committee Meeting (BCM), in Abuja about two  weeks ago, said under the programme, the apex bank, working with the  country’s Money Deposit Banks (MDBs), will fund the construction of the  dedicated non-oil export terminals to eliminate the delay currently  being experienced by exporters.

It expressed the hope that the policy, would provide loans to companies  for value addition and production of finished goods for export at five  per cent for 10 years period with two years of moratorium.  The apex bank said other key features of the programme included  non-oil commodities expansion facility and expressed optimism that the  new policy would go a long way to fetch the country huge foreign  exchange earnings from the non-oil sector. Also through this new CBN’s initiative, local companies would meet  their forex needs.  Speaking further on his bank’s new policy, Emefiele stressed that rather  than for local exporters to export cocoa with minimal export proceeds,
the apex bank would fund companies to produce chocolate in the country.  He also give another instance, saying: “Instead for the cashew exporters to export raw cashews, they will be encouraged to process them
before exporting them for better income for the companies and the  country.”

In the surface, the new CBN’s policy is a welcome development and long  overdue, but the questions begging for answer are whether the apex bank  did its due diligence properly and whether local exporters, the  Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and other stakeholders were  duly consulted before the CBN made the policy public? While it may be quite difficult to know the level of consultation the  apex bank did, one thing is certain, which is the fact that some  economists and experts have their own reservations about the policy.

One of such experts, who have criticised the new policy is the Chief  Executive Officer (CEO) of the Centre for Private Enterprise (CPE), Dr.  Muda Yusuf, who had argued that while the policy looked good in the face  value, its implementation, like most policies in the country, will be a  different matter all together.  He said the success or otherwise of the policy depends on its  implementation, stressing that when the policy commences, the  stakeholders for whom the policy is meant will understand how good or  bad the policy will turn out to be, saying that only time will tell of its efficacy.

He opined that in the past CBN initiated lofty policies, but were  poorly implemented, which led to their failure. An exporter of palm kennels, Jude Ofoge, said the policy is still  under study by local exporters, adding that it was still too early to  comment on the policy.  Speaking on a telephone interview with The Trumpet, Ofoge said he and
his colleagues were still studying the new policy, adding: “I only read  about the CBN RT $200 billion policy to stimulate non-oil export in the next three to five years in the newspapers.

“Sincerely speaking, I don’t know how the policy will work out for  non-oil exporters. I hope the policy will be well implemented to achieve  the desired results for the country’s non-oil exporters.”  When contacted to share his views on the policy, Director General of  the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Segun Ajayi-Kadir, could
not respond to calls made to his telephone line before going to the  press.

However, others who responded to the new initiative said the CBN under  Godwin Emefiele had initiated policies that have failed woefully.  They listed the policy on the ban of the Bureau de Change (BDCs) from  the official forex widow as the solution to the country’s FX challenge,  which he said, had failed to strengthen the Naira. They also cited the allegation that the daily publication of FX rate  against Naira by the AbokiFX as the reason why Naira has been on the  free fall, as another policy the CBN got wrong, insisting that AbokiFX  has stopped the publication of the FX rate, yet the Naira continues to  decline in value.

They also listed the N500 billion COVID-19 intervention policy to the  various sectors, which MAN and many local manufacturers confirmed that  they did not know the beneficiaries and other policies Enefiele and the  CBN team have failed to deliver to the intended beneficiaries years  after.

The CBN has announced the new policy, but the next three to five years  the CBN fixed to expand the $ 200 billion will determine if the policy  will succeed or fail like many other past policies under the current CBN  governor. Only time will tell how the policy will pan out.

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