In an effort to contain the scarcity of foreign exchange that is affecting the real sector of the economy, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has increased dollar supply to manufacturers in the country, according to the President of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr. Frank Jacobs.
Equally, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), in its financial and operations report for February, “confirmed that it would in partnership with the CBN provide up to $200 million for oil marketers to enable them meet their fuel import allocations in the second quarter of this year.”
This came as Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said yesterday that the federal government was looking at ways to boost the real economy by reducing lending rates to single digit.
His statement further addressed the concerns expressed by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) over the recent rate hike by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) from 11 per cent to 12 per cent and the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) from 20 per cent to 22.5 per cent by the central bank.
Furthermore, he said the federal government was looking at means to encourage local production and would ban certain imports in the near future.
He added: “In the case of low interest rate lending to the real sector, this has remained a major problem for many in the real sector, especially those in the agricultural sector, because of the bank lending rates of over 25 per cent in some cases.
“In order to promote agriculture and diversify properly and support industry, there is no question that we need to be moving towards a single digit interest rate. The plan is to move towards the single digit interest rate.”
“In terms of diversification, the way forward requires that we move from reliance on crude oil to the production of petroleum products. By this I mean instead of merely extracting and exporting crude oil, Nigeria must now take full advantage of its petroleum sector and its entire value chain.
“It would also require making full use of our natural gas resources domestically and abroad and of course it requires that we fully implement laws and regulations in the oil sector so as to fully utilise its abundant forward and backward leakages.
“It is for this reason that the federal government would be prioritising the adoption and execution of the national oil and gas master plan this year.”