The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has defended its restrictive policy, stressing that it was meant to protect local industries from unfavorable competition and to create jobs for Nigerians.
According to the apex bank’s governor, Godwin Emefiele, with the country’s high unemployment was inevitable to create job opportunities and provide an enabling environment for the unemployed to live a gainful life.
Emefiele, during a meeting with the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in Abuja, assured the international community that Nigeria remains open to business from any part of the world.
He also attributed the CBN’s policy to restrict foreign exchange to dairy companies which refused to align with its backward integration programme, to the need to protect the national interest.
Emefiele’s clarification followed concerns raised by Okonjo-Iweala that the European Union (EU) had filed complaints about some of the CBN’s trade restriction policies before the organisation, particularly on the use of devaluation of the balance of payments agreement to protect the dairy industry.
But Emefiele said the decision on dairy products was not taken unilaterally by the apex bank, adding that about six major industry players unanimously agreed to take action against those opposed to the backward integration plan to boost job creation.
Recall that the European Union recently reported Nigeria to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over the country’s restriction of dairy importation.