By Franklin Ocheneyi
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that the implementation of its policy on 41 items has greatly boosted local manufacturing production, citing the example of Psaltry International Limited, a local producer of cassava starch for other industries.
The policy has also drastically reduced Nigeria’s import bills, from an average of about $5.5 billion to $2.1 billion in 2016 and $1.9 billion by half year 2017.
CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele disclosed this during the 2017 Annual Bankers’ Dinner organised by Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) in Lagos.
He noted that in spite of oppositions that greeted the introduction of the policy, its faithful implementation had seen local manufacturers recording profits and increase in capacity utilisations.
” Psaltry had only a few customers and a huge backlog of inventory. However, due to the policy, the company now has over 50 multinational clients including Nestle and Unilever, Nigerian Breweries, thereby saving the country $7 million in foreign exchange drawdown over the two years of the policy,” he said.
While also asserting that the access restriction policy had freed Nigeria from the perennially embarrassing importation of toothpicks, the CBN Governor disclosed to the delight of the audience that as part of the gains from the policy and in line with an agreement reached with Unilever, which moved its production facility to another country a few years ago, the company had agreed to commission a new Blue Band Factory in Agbara, Ogun State before the end of 2017.
He recalled that Nigeria, in 2012, imported about 1.2 million metric tonnes of rice from a trading partner, noting that, in 2016, one full year of implementation of the policy, rice exports to Nigeria had fallen by 99 percent to only 784 metric tonnes.
“These are clearly verifiable successes of government’s attempts to create jobs locally, improve the wealth of our rural population, improve industrial capacities and ultimately attain economic growth in Nigeria,” he noted.