CBN: Our Interventions will Boost Nigeria’s Participation in AfCFTA

Dike Onwuamaeze

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that its interventions in the real sector of the Nigerian economy were targeted at boosting Nigeria’s participation in the African Continental Free Trade Area’s (AfCFTA) agreement.

This was disclosed yesterday by the Deputy Governor of the CBN for Economic Policy, Dr. Kingsley Obiora during the “Town-Hall Meeting with Financial Sector Stakeholders in Respect of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) Agreement,” which was organised by the CBN.

Obiora said: “The CBN has been implementing various development finance programmes aimed at stimulating the real sector activities and diversifying the economy particularly in the agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare and other non-oil sectors. The interventions include the Anchor Borrowers Programme, the Real Sector Support Facility, Export Stimulation Scheme and the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme.

“These examples are indications of the central bank’s involvement and commitment to growing our domestic industries and boosting international competitiveness, particularly in preparation for the AfCFTA.”

He pointed out that Nigeria’s government assent to the AfCFTA agreement has made it an imperative for stakeholders in the country’s economy to harmonise various sartorial strategies for the effective maximisation of the opportunities that could be derived from implementing the agreement.

He said: “We believe that the financial sector has the potential to accrue substantial benefits from the AfCFTA in view of the intermediary role of finance in facilitating growth and engendering sustainable growth.

“The critical advantage of the AfCFTA to the Nigerian financial sector would be the removal of barriers for the expansion of financial institutions and services. This advancement will foster the provision of financial service in the continental market at a reduced cost.”

Obiora noted that as a key regulatory agency in the financial sector, the CBN is playing a leading role in engendering risk mitigation methods that would protect the Nigerian financial system from potentially damaging trade policies and position the sector for the benefits associated with the AfCFTA.

Similarly, the Director of Banking Supervision Department of the CBN, Mr. Mustapha Haruna, remarked that the apex bank saw the AfCFTA as a vista of opportunities for Nigerian banking sector, which has a crucial role to play in the successful implementation of the AfCFTA agreement.

Haruna said: “Nigerian banks are well positioned to take advantage of the AfCFTA. But they need to be well capitalised to be able to finance big ticket transactions. They also need to scale up in terms of their payment infrastructure to be able to reach out to Pan-African market. In addition, they should operate at the highest standard of their businesses to gain the confidence that will attract patronages to them.”

He said that the AfCFTA would provide opportunity for the Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) to provide more credits to the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) that are engaged in the production of goods and services for export.

He said that this would provide opportunities for the OFIs to grant more credits that would grow their finances and earn them more income.

“Capitalisation will make them (Nigerian OFIs) competitive to explore opportunities provided by the AfCFTA. They should adopt the IFRS and apply good business practices,” he said

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