By Lydia Ngwakwe
Lagos, – The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Chairman, Bankers Committee, Mr Godwin Emefiele, has said that the committee could no longer delay in resolving the structural issues inhibiting non-oil export receipts.
Emefiele said this at the opening of the 13th Annual Bankers’ Committee retreat, on Friday in Lagos, saying the two-day event will provide stakeholders the opportunity to review the progress and implementation of RT200.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the two-day retreat is “Increasing the Productive Base of the Nigerian Economy: Focus on Boosting Non-Oil Export Revenues’’.
Emefiele said that it was in view of the need to support the fundamentals of the Nigerian economy, diversify from dependence on oil inflows, and minimise the debilitating pressures in the foreign exchange market that the apex bank launched the RT200 programme in February 2022.
“What we’re saying here is that because of the crisis that we’re seeing facing most countries, and Nigeria not being an exception, we must, in an attempt to work towards diversifying the nation’s economy, begin to think about how do we pay less reliance on revenues coming from crude.
“We are in the business of servicing customers, and servicing customers also entails that they have import needs and they need foreign exchange to conduct their import activities.
“To do so means that you need foreign exchange to service them. There is a clear shortage of foreign exchange today. But yet as bankers, we must meet the needs of our customers.
“The market is tight, and I know we don’t have a choice. We will have to do something to ensure that this problem is solved. That is the reason we have decided that this retreat must focus on RT200 essentially,’’ he said.
The CBN governor said the RT200 initiative, which was designed to stimulate non-oil exports with a US$200 billion foreign exchange income target in three to five years, had been widely accepted and driven by the institutions that constitute the Bankers’ Committee.
He urged the Bankers’ Committee to recognise the critical role of the financial system in accelerating the development of the productive base of the economy, in order to contribute to national development and economic growth.
Emefiele also urged the committee to play productive parts to engender the necessary infrastructure and services that are critical to boost non-oil exports.
Also, Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, who was in attendance at the opening of the event, described the RT200 as the right step to take in addressing the issue of diversification of the economy.
“So the RT200, which is planned for the next three to five years to generate about US$ 200 billion in non-oil export, I think is the right step.
“And I think this year’s retreat also speaks to that and that’s why you’ve chosen a topic that speaks to increasing the productive base of our country.
“I’m looking forward and I’m hoping that with all of the bright minds that are in this room, it will not just be a talk shop, it will be an engagement in which at the end of the day, Nigerians out there will be better off for it.
“And that you will come up with solutions and programmes that can affect an ordinary man on the street,’’ he said.
The governor also urged the committee to come up with resolutions on how to tackle our own local issues using a global perspective. (NAN)