In line with its promise to boost activities of the nation’s manufacturing sector and give lifeline to the economy, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has made the sum of $660 million worth of foreign exchange available for operators in the industry through the inter-bank market.
This was in keeping with its promise to strengthen the real sector of the economy by ensuring that 60% of available forex goes to manufacturers. The Bank, provided a total sum of $660million worth of foreign exchange for the purposes of procuring industrial inputs, a statement from the bank said.
The amount (N660,173,976.46), which was aggregated sum released through various commercial banks was to enable manufacturing groups to procure industrial inputs such as raw materials, machine spare-parts, telecom equipment, plastic raw materials, Agricultural machines, pre-payment meters, etc.
Experts are of the view that the injection would provide a new lease of life in the manufacturing sub-sector, thereby boosting industrial output and employment. This goes to buttress the commitment of the apex Bank to rejuvenate and sustain industrial activities and retention of jobs.
Details obtained at the weekend indicated that the sum sourced by the manufacturers was to facilitate the procurement of raw materials for agricultural, pharmaceutical, automobile, aviation, plant and machinery, power, telecommunications, and printing, among others.
Confirming the report, the Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Isaac Okorafor, explained that the CBN was committed to ensuring that manufacturers of goods for which Nigeria does not enjoy comparative advantage were able to get letters of credit (LCs) to import the required materials for their businesses.
Citing the case of some manufacturing industries in Nigeria, which had posted huge turnovers since the CBN introduced restrictions on the sourcing of FOREX for 41 items from the inter-bank market, Okorafor said the restriction had indeed yielded positive results.
He therefore urged manufacturers to take advantage of the policy, which he stressed is part of efforts by the CBN to ensure that Nigeria reclaims its status as a major producer through backward integration initiatives and conserve billions of Foreign Exchange spent on import bills annually.