The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says its unconventional monetary policies have supported the creation of over 2.5 million jobs across the agricultural value chain.
The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele made this known in a keynote address he delivered at the 28th Annual Seminar for Finance Correspondents and Business Editors held in Owerri on Tuesday.
Emefiele was represented at the occasion by Mr Edward Adamu the CBN Deputy Governor, Corporate Services.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 2019 seminar has its theme as “Galvanizing Development Finance and Monetary Policy for Growth.”
He noted that the unconventional or heterodox monetary policies adopted by the apex bank were well thought through and had been yielding significant gains for the Nigerian economy.
He said this was evidenced in the GDP recovery in the third quarter of 2017, which had been sustained for nine successive quarters after five consecutive quarters of negative growth.
Emefiele noted that the unconventional monetary policy initiative was premised on ensuring credit delivery to critical sectors of the economy.
According to the CBN governor, the move informed the directive to Deposit Money Banks to maintain a minimum Loan to Deposit Ratio (LDR) of 65 per cent by the end of December 2019.
He said the apex bank was also creating the necessary eco-system to inculcate a better credit culture among Nigerians.
“In all, there is sufficient evidence of significant reductions in our annual imports bill and increased non-oil exports.
“Our Development Finance intervention has helped to bolster agricultural production by removing obstacles faced by small holder 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 1.5 million 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 2.5 million jobs across the agricultural value chain,” he said.
Emefiele said that considering the gains, the media had a critical role to play in conveying a deeper understanding of the bank’s commitment to economic growth and development.
“For instance, it is our game changing intervention in the rice value chain in Kebbi and other rice-producing states across the country that increased local rice production from 2.5 million tonnes in 2015 to 5.8 million tonnes in 2017.
“This was also the case in the cotton intervention with the flag-off of input distribution to 150,000 cotton farmers, cultivating 150,000 hectares in 23 states of the Federation,” he said.
The CBN governor said the theme of this year’s seminar was relevant, considering the evolving interconnectedness between development finance and monetary policy, not only in Nigeria, but in other economies across the world.
He said the CBN approach to stimulating economic development was three-pronged and centered on Agriculture, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Infrastructure.
He said the apex bank had transcended her core mandate of maintaining monetary, price and financial system stability, to undertake developmental initiatives with a view to spurring economic growth and job creation.
“Our efforts at these development finance initiatives have helped to accelerate the actualization of the Federal Government’s economic diversification programme.
“Diversifying our economic base presents a more sustainable and stable option.
“It is our conviction that focusing our developmental efforts on sectors with inherent potential for growth, employment and accretion to foreign reserves would enhance the fortune of the Nigerian economy,” he said.
Emefiele pointed out that the CBN had increased its lending to the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, through targeted intervention schemes such as the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme and the Real Sector Support Facility. (NAN)