CBN Spokesman Isaac Okorafor
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that restriction of access to foreign exchange on the 41 items has had a positive impact on the economy.
The Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department of the bank, Mr. Isaac Okorafor stated this on Friday at the CBN Fair, a sensitisation programme, held at the Cultural Centre in Calabar, Cross River State.
Okorafor said the implementation of the policy had created employment and helped to conserve the hitherto depleting nation’s foreign reserve, therefore buoying up the economy.
Okorafor, who was represented by Mr. ChukwudumNzelu, said the restriction of access to foreign exchange placed on the 41 items made Nigerians to start looking inward for the production of goods and products that the country has comparative advantage to be produced locally.
The CBN spokesman said the successful implementation of the 41 items policy gave birth to the other initiatives such as the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), which has caused a revolution in the production of rice across the country.
Continuing, he said the production of rice under the ABP was not only to ensure food security, but to create jobs along the value chain of rice production. He added that with improved seedlings and farming techniques under the ABP, rice production which stood at 3.5 tons per hectares has jumped to 7 tons per hectare.
Okorafor urged the participants to also key-in into the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS), which was targeted at youths between the ages of 18 to 35 years. AADS, when fully operational, is expected to employ at least 10,000 jobs per state across the 36 states of the Federations, including the Federal Capital Territory. The essence of this initiative, according to him, was to reduce drastically youth unemployment.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Branch Controller, CBN Calabar Branch, Dr. Graham Kalio said that the CBN fair was an interactive forum aimed at bridging the information gap that might exist concerning the policies, programmes and activities of the apex bank.
The Fair was attended by farmers, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), persons from government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and others who were genuinely interested in taking advantage of the CBN policies and programmes.