Abuja – Dr Abraham Nwankwo, Director-General, Debt Management Office (DMO), has urged Nigerian producers to use the leverage provided by the Federal Government to produce goods that could be exported to help to grow the national reserve.
Nwankwo made the call in an interview on Sunday in Abuja.
“If Nigerian individuals and companies produce and export more than we import, we earn foreign exchange and if we import less, our foreign reserves will be growing because we are adding more to it than we are drawing from.
“So, the essential simple way for the reserve to grow is for Nigerian individuals, households and companies to be productive enough to compete internationally, to export goods and services and earn foreign exchange.
“They must depend less on imports, practically imports of consumer goods which is the strategic thrust of the government within the transformation agenda,’’ he said
Nwankwo said that in the long term, the DMO contributes to the growth of foreign reserves by supporting not only government but also the private sector through the creation of a market for long term force .
This, he said, placed the private sector in a position to access the long term funds to produce goods and services, including those that could be exported to earn foreign exchange.
“The DMO is also helping to source funds for the development of infrastructure which will not only help to increase productivity but reduce cost of production, improve competitiveness and therefore make Nigerian goods more acceptable in the International market.
“It will thereby make the country to earn more foreign exchange,’’ he said.
Nwankwo said that there was the need to ensure that instead of exporting just crude products, primary products, primary solid minerals, primary agricultural products, it was processed to create more value
He added that the government should encourage locally produced goods such as agriculture products like rice, sugar and wheat flour which the country imports in huge quantities.
The DMO boss said that this had led to government encouraging commercial scale agriculture, while supporting the existing small-scale holders to use the proceeds.
He noted that government had also made sure that inputs, including fertilisers were provided for them timely and at affordable rates.
“ The whole programme is to ensure that instead of spending scarce foreign exchange in importing these goods, we produce them domestically.
“ In doing so, you will be helping to build up the reserves,’’ he said (NAN)