Buhari Opens Economic Retreat, Says Forex Scarcity Painful, But Temporary
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured manufacturers in Nigeria, that the current foreign exchange scarcity is painful but temporary.
The president who addressed governors, ministers and policy makers at the national economic conference retreat in Abuja on Monday said the scarcity grieves him.
“It grieves me that so many manufacturing industries in the country today are groaning and frustrated because of lack of foreign exchange (forex) to import raw materials and spare parts,” he said.
“Painful though this is, I believe it is a temporary phase which we shall try to overcome but there are deeper, more structural problems bedeviling local industries which this Retreat should identify short and long-term answers to.”
The president urged his economic team to fast track the infrastructure development fund, to unlock resources and address “infrastructural deficiencies”.
“There should be more fiscal incentives for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which prove themselves capable of manufacturing quality products good enough for export.
“Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should create more incentives and ease credit terms for lending to manufacturers. A fresh campaign to patronize Made-in-Nigeria goods should be launched.
“Example: all uniforms in government-sponsored institutions should be sourced from local factories. Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen, these suggestions I am putting forward to you are by no means directives but a contribution to your discourse.”
The president said in his speech at the opening of the retreat, that he’s willing to receive recommendations that can positively affect the economy.
“Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen, these suggestions I am putting forward to you are by no means directives but a contribution to your discourse.
“It is also the government’s expectation that this Retreat will highlight the respective roles and responsibilities of each tier of government in adopting and implementing agreed policy initiatives.
“I hope this Retreat will come up with practical, viable solutions and recommendations as we chart a course for our nation in this turbulent domestic and international economic environment.”
Nigeria has been experiencing forex scarcity, since oil prices took a downward turn, but the situation escalated earlier in the year, when CBN halted sales of forex to bureau de change operators.
The dollar is currently trading around N322.