The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says the closure of Nigeria’s land border will boost local production as well attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country.
Recall that the research Chief for International Monetary Fund (IMF), Oya Calesun, had earlier while reacting to the border closure that the impact on the country would be negative.
While speaking at a press conference in the just concluded annual IMF meeting, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said instead of impeding FDI, the closure of the land borders was boosting local production and reducing unemployment which are fundamental to the growth of the country.
The CBN governor, in his reactions to the comments made by Celasun said, “Two weeks to the closure of the border, I was called by rice millers, not less than five rice milers were complaining that each of them had nothing less than 30,000 metric tonnes of milled rice in their warehouses that they couldn’t sell as a result of smuggling. I was called by some of the poultry farmers that we were also financing through our intervention that they couldn’t sell their eggs and poultry items.”
“A week after the border closure, the rice millers called back to say, governor thank you very much, we don’t know what happened, we don’t know if it was you that spoke to the President, with this border closure, have exhausted all our rice in our warehouses, people are coming to deposit money.”
However, according to the CBN governor, the restriction of foreign exchange to some items has created opportunities for investors to establish manufacturing firms for those items in Nigeria.
“I say that (IMF’s claim) is false. We are restricting access to forex for the importation of items that can be produced in Nigeria.
“If you are a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) that is interested in doing business in Nigeria, I will say instead of you facilitating the import of these items into Nigeria, we want you to come and produce it in Nigeria.”
Emefiele went further to say that Nigeria is a nation of almost 200 million people and that investors going into production of any of the forex restricted items would make profit and would be able to repatriate their earnings.