Recently, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in its fourth quarter (Q4) & Full Year 2019 GDP report, said that the Nigerian economy grew by 2.3% in 2019, compared to 1.9% in 2018, while Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 2.55% (year-on-year).
Recently figures from the rating agencies Bloomberg and the International Momentary Fund classified the Nigeria’s economy as the largest in Africa. Nigeria’s GDP stood at $476 billion, while South Africa’s economy, which is the closest rival in the continent, was $352 billion in 2019.
Despite the 2016 recession and challenges that confronted many startups thereafter; the Nigerian economy keeps defying many odds to stay ahead.
Many stakeholders, attributed this feat to some of the initiatives the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced.
They said initiatives like the Anchor Borrower’s Programme, restriction of forex for the importation of certain food items, border closure, outright ban on importation of things that can be locally produced and the recent interest rates cut on intervention funds among others boost local food production and cut down importation on many fronts.
Mr Anibe Achimugu is the MD of Arewa Cotton and National President of the Cotton Association of Nigeria. He said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s political will to support the Central Bank of Nigeria to deploy efficiently, taxpayers money in the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) kick-started a revolution in the Cotton, Textiles and Garments (CTG) sector.
“The ABP model is still, in my opinion, the best agricultural programme yet introduced in Nigeria. There are indeed problems and challenges but not enough to jettison the programme, more so that the CBN is constantly making adjustments to fit realities, their flexibility is ensuring success,” he said.
Stakeholders in the agricultural sector have applauded the Central Bank of Nigeria over the slashing of interest rates on intervention funds from 9% to 5%.
They said the gesture would increase the incomes of many beneficiaries and scale up the wealth of many start-ups in the country.
Dr Samaila Aliyu said that if the recent interest cut is well implemented, it will not only expand the ABP, but also ease up funds to attract more participants.
“I just pray the gesture is not abused through non-payment and poor implementation,” he said.
Chairman of the Nigerian Apiculture Platform, Dr Ademola Adesina, told the Daily Trust in a telephone interview that the cut would boost activities in the sector and increase the profit margin of most businesses in the nation’s agricultural economy.
He said the current global economic challenges will not support high interest rates, adding that the Apex bank took the right decision in order to cushion the effect corona virus, which is melting down the global economy.
Also speaking, Mr Ezekiel Ibrahim, the president of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) told Daily Trust in Abuja that the gesture was going to create a huge impact in the sector.
“We are very glad with what the CBN has done. This is going to make us very competitive,” he said.
The World Bank also said the country has the opportunity “to accelerate the pace of structural reforms to build an institutional and policy framework capable of managing the volatility of the oil sector and supporting the sustained growth of the non-oil economy.”
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Mohammed Sabo Nanono, has said that Agro-industrialisation was Nigeria’s key to economic viability and cutting down the high rate of unemployment.
But Richard Olafere, Chairman of the Seed Entrepreneurs of Nigeria, during a retreat on seed appealed to CBN to come up with a monetary policy that will allow favourable commercial banks interest rates to boost activities in the sector.