The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, has expressed optimism that export proceeds repatriation for rebate would hit one billion dollars by the fourth quarter of 2022.
Emefiele said this at a press conference on the outcome of the 13th annual Bankers’ Committee Retreat, held in Lagos, with the theme, “Increasing the Productive Base of the Nigerian Economy and Non-Oil Export Revenues.”
He said that tremendous progress had been made in generating non-oil export revenues through the RT200 programme which started in February.
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“During the six weeks in February and March when the programme started, rebates of N65 were given, export proceeds repatriation that earned rebate was about $62 million. During the second quarter, export proceeds repatriation that earned rebate was about $622 million and the third quarter, we saw almost about $850 million of export proceeds that earned rebate.
“This is not export proceeds that did not earn rebates. Let’s not forget the rebate is only meant for processed goods. So, by the time we add both processed and unprocessed goods like unprocessed cocoa and cashew, we actually ran into almost $1 billion during the third quarter.
“And we are beginning to think that we should be able to continue to ramp up. We are looking hopefully in the fourth quarter, which we will be seeing in January, we hope that we should be able to hit over a billion dollars in export proceeds and repatriations that will qualify for rebate,’’ Emefiele said.
While recalling that earlier in the year, the apex bank had threatened banks to source for foreign exchange to meet the needs of their customers and not entirely rely on CBN sources, he said the Committee agreed that the apex bank should continue to sell Forex to banks following the success of the RT200 initiative.
“But seeing the progress that has been made so far, we are talking about $62 million plus $622 million plus $850 million, we are talking of almost two billion dollars.
“So far, we think that with the good progress and on the basis of the progress that has been made so far, the CBN will continue to support the market with foreign exchange, albeit as hard as it may be.
“We will continue to support the market while banks themselves continue to ramp up their own sources of non-oil export that can earn foreign exchange through repatriation, which they can use to fund the needs of their customers,’’ he said.
He said that the Bankers’ Committee also announced a minimum annual lending of N500 billion to exporters, as well as support the operations of selected export terminals, namely Lekki Port and the Airports at Ogun and Kano. He added that the Committee also resolved to work through InfraCorp to fund the road projects from Lekki to Ondo to facilitate the transportation of goods from Lagos/ Lekki ports to other parts of the country.
He said it also committed to continued support for the creative industry, especially the completion of the ongoing project at the National Theatre.
The Bankers’ Committee Retreat is a milestone event in the calendar of the financial services sector that provides a unique platform for the Bankers’ Committee to conduct a recap of major banking system events during the outgoing year and also discuss how these global and local developments will shape banking system activities in the coming year.