Abuja — The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele Thursday expressed appreciation to the federal government for the recent border closure, noting that it had yielded positive results for the economy, particularly agriculture.
Speaking at a crucial meeting with state governors on how to collaborate towards making their respective states economically viable through agriculture, at the CBN headquarters in Abuja, he said though the apex bank had tried its best to curtail smuggling of rice by blocking bank accounts, the closure of the borders had proved to be a game-changer.
He said: "Our story in rice production has yielded positive results. At this point it really fit to thank and commend the federal government for the border closure.
"Whereas at the CBN we have been doing everything possible through blocking of accounts and all that to restrict smuggling of rice into the country, but we think the border closure has resulted in very good result for all of us and I will give you an example."
According to Emefiele, prior to the closure, about two rice millers had approached him "and said they had about 30,000 metric tonnes each. All of these had large quantities of processed rice in their warehouses that they needed to be purchased but they were not being purchased because of the incidence of smuggling."
He said:"One week after the border was closed, these millers came back and said that all the rice in their warehouses had all been purchased and that in fact, they were even stopping people from paying monies into their accounts because they can't meet demand again.
"That is a good example. What are we doing through this - it is creating jobs for our people. We need to support any efforts that would create jobs and avoid exporting jobs to other countries."
This is as virtually the state governors, who were led to the meeting by Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Kayode Fayemi, all commended Emefiele for an uncommon passion towards the revival of key sectors of the economy, particularly agriculture.
Emefiele had managed to exact commitments from the state chief executives particularly in the area of yielding land for agriculture cultivation.
It was an evening of encomiums for the apex bank boss as the governors took their turns to commend his unprecedented stewardship to the country.
They all promised to provide all the needed support for the smooth running of the CBN intervention programmes in their respective states.
For those who were already on board of the popular anchor borrower programme (ABP), the governors vowed to expand it while those who were yet to join also made commitments to be involved going forward.
Also present at the meeting were governors of Lagos, Jigawa, Anambra, Zamfara, Bauchi, Imo, Benue, Borno, Kebbi, Ogun, Adamawa and Gombe and Sokoto states.
However, Fayemi, while commending the CBN governor, pointed out that agriculture remained the way to go if the country must make any headway- and expressed joy that more states have decided to latch on to the CBN intervention scheme to repositioning their state economy amidst the present fiscal challenges.
Governor of Jigawa State, Mr. Muhammadu Badaru thanked Emefiele adding that "the passion I have seen is enough for me to write a book."