Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has again urged the private sector to support in creating jobs and wealth for the overall growth of the Nigerian economy, even as he pledged the bank’s support for any company committed to the objective of job creation.
Mr. Emefiele made the call in his special remarks on Tuesday, December 5 at the Blue Band Factory launch held at the Unilever factory, Agbara, Ogun State, noting that there were many Nigerian youths whose potentials could be harnessed to strengthen the industrial base of the country.
He recalled with nostalgia the practice in time past when companies tested and offered jobs to the brightest among fresh graduates of different disciplines before they proceeded for their national youth service, stressing that a vast number of Nigerian youth were hardworking and willing to contribute their quota to the development of the country.
He also commended the management of Unilever Nigeria Plc for heeding the bank’s call to return to Nigeria and build a world-class plant capable of producing in spite of the foreign challenge that necessitated the CBN to restrict access to some 41 items, including margarine, which could be produced in Nigeria.
Emefiele told the audience that included representatives of the British and Dutch governments as well as bank chiefs that the policies of the CBN and its aggressive intervention in the interbank foreign exchange market management had ensured transparency in the foreign exchange market, coupled with an accretion to the foreign reserves that now stand at $38.2 billion.
With a population estimated at about 180 million people, the CBN governor said Nigeria was a ready market for investors and was indeed ready and open for business. He, therefore, reiterated his call to investors to take advantage of the opportunities in Nigeria by investing in Nigeria.
Emefiele, however, cautioned that Nigeria, with the population growing at an average of three per cent per annum, had to focus on growth and prosperity if it is to transform its population into assets. “We must plan to feed our growing population so it does not become a disadvantage,” he warned.
Welcoming guests earlier, the Executive Vice President of Unilever Ghana & Nigeria, Yaw Nsarkoh, lauded the CBN for supporting the company to achieve its goal of setting up the plant in Agbara and boosting capacity in Africa.
While urging investors to disregard negative stories about Nigeria, Nsarkoh noted that businesses must be part of the solution to thriving communities.
The highpoint of the ceremony was an inspection of the new Blue Band factory by the CBN governor and other guests present at the ceremony.