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Abuja – Mr Godwin Emefiele, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, said on Thursday that the bank would support efforts at domesticating oil and gas resources, to ensure more revenue for the country.
Emefiele made pledge at the maiden news briefing to unveil policy focus of the bank under his leadership in Abuja.
Emefiele replaced the former governor, Malam Lamido Sanusi, who was suspended from office by the President before the expiration of his tenure.
“Although Nigeria produces millions of barrels of crude oil per day, the importation of refined petroleum products alone consumes about 35 per cent of our annual import bill.
“The CBN will support efforts at domesticating our oil and gas resources, to ensure that much more of these resources are produced and used in Nigeria.
“This will stimulate inclusive growth, create jobs and reduce the pressure on the exchange rate occasioned by demand for the importation of finished petroleum products.’’
Emefiele said that the initiative would be pursued in collaboration with the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources.
He added that in trying to support the sector, any initiative proposed must align with the policy intent of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
According to him, the apex bank will contribute to policy development of the upstream investment incentives, incentives for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the upstream and also support for refineries and pipeline construction.
“To reduce the losses (theft and leakages) in the amount of produced crude that is officially sold, we will support initiatives to secure pipelines and ports.
“Working with the lead ministry, we will look at the investment incentives that encourage local Niger Delta-based SMEs to play an active role in metering services and pipeline protection technologies.’’
Emefiele said that the bank recognised that there was significant requirement for investment in the upstream sector, especially for the Federal Government-owned component of upstream Joint Ventures.
According to him, the bank will support investments in the sector.
“We will explore how this can be done through international Capital Markets. This will require looking at the current Joint Venture structures and ensuring that our proposals sit alongside the PIB proposals.’’
On support to the health sector, he said that the CBN intended to play a facilitating role by unlocking the potential that exist for the private sector to invest at various points along the healthcare value chain.
The value chain, he said, included hospital services, health insurance, pharmaceuticals, supply chain and financing.
“This window of opportunity has already led the private sector to establish an institutional platform for health known as the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PHN) with the support of the government.’’
The CBN governor gave an assurance that the bank would explore opportunities for partnering with the institution, to galvanise the private sector into playing a more active role in the health sector.
He added that the bank would maintain keen interest in supporting the development of institutions, create the enabling environment to trigger private sector investment and curb the growing trend of medical tourism.