Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele, while speaking at a press conference at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, on the last day of the 2016 World Bank/IMF spring meeting said that the Federal Government was in talks with the Chinese so that the country would start importing from Nigeria.
“We are talking to China so that it would also be importing some of its items from Nigeria, so that the trading balance can be sort of reduced. Will Nigeria benefit from this? I want to say categorically that Nigeria benefits from this. It’s less pressure on the dollar and consequently on our reserves,” he said.
Emefiele also said that part of the deal with China is to make Nigeria the West African trading hub for the Asian country, pointing out that there are investors who instead of exporting to Nigeria, want to bring their plants to Nigeria because “the climate is good”.
China has appointed South Africa as its trading hub for Remnibi transactions in the South African region, has appointed Kenya as its trading hub for East and Central Africa; and Nigeria, the mandate that we signed is for us to be appointed as the trading hub in West African. In all, we expect that it is going to be mutually beneficial.
For the first time, we are taking structural reforms seriously in the country. We’ve always talked about, when you do an adjustment, follow it up with structural reforms. But we are saying this time we’ve done an adjustment and we are following it up with structural reform, where we are saying we must diversify the economy away from depending on oil.
During the China trip, we saw people who said they can now come in instead of exporting those items into Nigeria, they can now bring those plants into Nigeria and begin to produce those things in Nigeria because our climate is good.