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•Harps on environmental protection, sustainable banking principles
By James Emejo
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, yesterday reiterated the bank’s commitment to ensuring steady availability of foreign exchange for manufacturers.
Emefiele also urged banks as well as Nigerians to strive to end environmental pollution and ensure sustenance of banking principles.
Speaking alongside the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Niyi Adebayo, at an interactive session with a business team from the United Kingdom, Emefiele, however, explained that the fall in oil prices had affected the inflow of forex.
This, he said, informed the restriction of access to forex for the importation of goods that could be produced locally, in order to ensure judicious use of forex.
He identified the three main sources of forex inflows to the country as the sale of crude oil, remittances from Nigerians abroad and foreign investors.
Emefiele, represented by the Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, Dr. Kingsley Obiora, stated that some of the issues raised by the companies would be looked into to assist them in their daily operations.
However, Adebayo who facilitated the meeting said the growth of the companies would boost the economy and make more money available for the federal government to build more infrastructure and to create jobs for the youths.
A statement by Adebayo’s aide, Mr. Ifedayo Sayo, said the companies lauded the CBN for funding of local companies and the various reforms put in place to assist in keeping their businesses afloat.
They also solicited for more forex to enable them to continue in business, pay their lenders and maintain their machines.
Some of the companies present at the interactive session included GlaxoSmithKline, a pharmaceutical company, Savanna Energy, AzuraPower West Africa, Guinness Plc.
Representative of GlaxoSmithKline, Mr. Omongiade Ehighebolo, lauded the minister and Emefiele for the support which the businesses had received from the government in the firm’s 50 years of operation in the country.
He said it was the desire of the government to make the country the export hub for pharmaceutical products, adding that this will be realised through a partnership with local manufacturers.
He commended the CBN support for the local manufacturing companies.
On his part, Managing Director of Azura Power West Africa, Edu Okeke, also praised the CBN for its support for the power generation company and called for more support in terms of forex allocation.
Okeke who commended the CBN for the various reforms put in place which had helped the growth of the sector stated that the reforms have helped to unlock the sector.
Emefiele Harps on Environmental Protection, Sustainable Banking Principles
Meanwhile, Emefiele, yesterday enjoined the banks as well as Nigerians to strive to end environmental pollution.
He said it was imperative to key into the global movement for a greener world adding that
“We must keep our ecosystem alive so that everything remains green,” he stated.
Emefiele, at a tree planting session alongside the CBN deputy governors, at the bank’s headquarters in Abuja to commemorate the World Environment Day celebration with the theme: “Ecosystem Restoration,” said lending practices must take the environment into consideration and ensure that sustainable banking principles are observed when banks are lending money.
The CBN governor stated that some international financial institutions and development finance agencies have started to demand evidence of compliance with sustainable banking principles before approving monetary assistance.
He said: “As a bank, you want to borrow money from a bank, they will tell you that as long as they find anything that pollutes the environment, that does not make the environment clean and green, they will not condone that credit activity.
“And we must join not only as bankers, but we must also join as Nigerians and members of the global community to ensure that we join the entire community to ensure that our environment remains green.
“It keeps the oxygen flowing well in our lives and we can all live well and avoid pollutants that destroy our lives and environment.”
Emefiele said the apex bank intended to seize the opportunity to join “all well-meaning human beings all over the world to commemorate a day like this.”
“A day like this reminds us to ensure that our ecosystem remains green. And we need to make sure we remove everything that is creating pollution in our environment.”
At the Model Secondary School, Maitama, the Special Adviser to the CBN Governor on Sustainable Banking, Dr. A’isha Mahmood, urged the pupils, who she described as young ambassadors of the environment, to protect the environment in order to avoid adverse environmental issues.
She stated that the CBN and other financial institutions had in 2012, adopted the Nigerian Sustainable Banking framework, a written document, guiding their business operations and practices, to ensure that their actions are socially and environmentally responsible.