Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has urged that the federal government to pay more attention to palm oil saying it is more expensive than crude oil.
The 57-year-old banker made this statement in Abuja on Wednesday when he appeared before the senate committee on banking, finance, insurance and other financial institution for screening for his second term nomination as CBN governor.
However, he did not give the current prices of the commodities in the international market.
At present, Nigeria makes about 90% of its earnings from crude oil sales.
“In the 60s, Nigeria controlled 40 per cent share in the global palm oil chain,” he said,
“We were exporting our palm oil to different parts of the world, but because we found crude oil, we receded and abandoned it.
“The price of a tonne of palm oil is more than the price of a barrel of crude oil. So, what happened?
“For other countries, when they had the opportunity in agriculture and in the crude sector, they did not let their guards down; unfortunately, we did and that is what we are paying for today.
“We will grow that market again and after that, we will go into cocoa.”
Commending President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to revitalising the country’s agricultural sector, Emefiele said the apex bank has explored other intervening initiatives that would help boost the sector and the supply of foreign exchange
“We just came back from the IMF world programme in April and in the World Bank-IMF World Economic Outlook, Nigeria is positioned as a country whose population will rise to over 425 million people by the year 2050,” he explained.
“We, from the Central Bank on the monetary policy side, have come to realise the instrumentality of the Anchor Borrowers Programme.
“A programme where access to credit is being provided to our masses all over the country will be a way to generate employment and boost economic activities among our rural population.
“The results are there to see that as a result of our Anchor Borrowers Programme where we have disbursed over N190 billion to over 1.1 million farmers, cultivating over 1.3 million hectares of land, we need to do more.
“As we do this, we make finance available at a low-interest rate, make access to credit easy for our people and in doing this, we will be able to create jobs for them and improve their livelihood.”
The CBN governor debunked statements that the bank is operating multiple exchange rate. Instead, he said the bank only has “multiple windows to make it easy for Nigerians who make use of foreign exchange, and in spite of the multiple windows, there is a convergence of rate, with about N360 to a dollar”.
He is the first central bank governor to get a second five-term in office since the country returned to democracy in 1999.