Palm oil can generate 200, 000 jobs for Edo State indigenes, so says Mr. Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Emefiele, who made this known during the first convocation lecture of Edo State University, Iyamho, Auchi, on Friday, also said the state can rake in millions of dollars in foreign exchange from supporting cultivation and processing of palm oil.
In his lecture entitled “The Role of Monetary Policy towards Economic Growth in Nigeria”, Emefiele affirmed that agriculture was one of the surest ways of growing the economy.
According to him, during the peak of the oil crisis, Nigeria earned close to $23 billion from exports of crude oil in 2017 as against Indonesia which, he said, earned close to $22 billion from palm oil export within the same period.
“I am indeed delighted that following our intervention with palm oil producers, over the next few years, annual production of the product in Edo alone will be in the realm of 350,000 metric tons,” he said.
The CBN boss noted that Nigeria had large arable land that could be put to good use in the cultivation of not only palm oil but also cotton, cocoa, tomatoes and rice, among others.
“We intend to leverage on unconventional monetary policy tools to improve local production of these commodities, as growth in Nigeria’s agriculture and manufacturing sectors is critical in our efforts to create a diversified wealth base for the country.
“It will also help to insulate our economy from volatility associated with changes in crude oil price,” he said.
Emefiele disclosed that the crude oil price could not rise like before, pointing out that certain factors had been put in place to control the oil prices not to go beyond $100 per barrel.
Edo state governor Mr. Godwin Obaseki lauded Emefiele for the innovative policies put in place by the apex bank to grow the country’s economy.
Obaseki specifically commended the CBN governor for the Anchor Borrowers Programme which, he said, his state had also benefited from.