Nigeria’s external reserves rallied to a new high of $42.8 billion on Tuesday with confidence returning to the economy as the continuing intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) draws various exchange rates to convergence point.
The figure is $2.4billion more than the $40.4billion for last month.
The acting Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, declared Wednesday that the Bank’s intervention in various sectors of the economy, including agribusiness, with emphasis on local production of rice has helped to conserve foreign exchange.
Speaking in Abuja at a press briefing by the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) vis-à-vis their collaboration with the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), Okorafor stated that as at Tuesday, foreign reserves hit a new high of $42.8 billion just as the bank has so far disbursed about N55 billion to farmers nationwide under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.
He disclosed that the central bank was targeting an additional two million tonnes of rice to the national output this year through its partnership with RIFAN under the ABP.
He noted that some people were of the argument that the price of rice was high, explaining that with time, the price will fall as production increases nationwide.
Okorafor pointed out that besides RIFAN, the CBN’s ABP was in league with other commodity associations in the country, including cassava, sorghum, maize and others with a view to revolutionising agribusiness, and guaranteeing food security.
In his remarks, the President of RIFAN, Alhaji Aminu Goronyo, lauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s support and launch of the ABP in 2015, describing it as a huge success.
Goronyo disclosed that about five million farmers are to cultivate 200,000 hectares of land for rice production under a pilot scheme.