Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, has said the forex restriction placed on 41 items hitherto imported into the country has contributed to the shoring up of the country’s external reserves and created many jobs.
Emefiele, who disclosed this in his acceptance speech in Washington DC after he bagged Forbes’ Magazine’s Best of Africa award.
He recalled how the CBN was castigated for the policy which he said was for the go0d of the country.
Emefiele said toothpick, which was one of the items, was now being produced in the country with the attendant creation of many jobs for youths, especially those observing the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
“How much does it cost to invest in the equipment needed to produce toothpicks? We were importing toothpicks and we felt this can’t continue in a country that is rich in bamboo which is what is used in producing toothpicks.
“There is a company called Batin in Nigeria which engages corpers [to produce toothpicks]; people come out of school today and they are producing toothpicks and it is creating jobs for people. That is what you find in the spirit of Nigerians.
“A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a toothpick produced in Nigeria and it is firmer and stronger than the one you would import from China. It looks so simple. As far as we are concerned, it is creating jobs for our people. Producing toothpicks producing jobs for our people,” he said.
The governor also disclosed how the policy had boosted local production and supply of starch and glucose as a result of expansion of local demands.
“Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava, but we were importing starch and glucose. Nigerian companies that produce starch and glucose would go companies that needed starch and glucose and all the companies were telling them was that their stock levels were high and they would visit them when their stock levels go low.
“But unfortunately, their stock levels did not go low until we imposed the FX restrictions on these items and their stock levels went low and now patronise Nigerians that produce starch and glucose.
“Today, companies that require starch and glucose for their pharmaceutical formulations patronize Nigerians and this has created jobs for us. That is the spirit of Nigerian; part of the reasons the president said we need to embrace made-in- Nigeria goods. We are happy that we are doing so today,” the CBN Governor said.