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We will grow palm oil sector again, it’s more lucrative than crude, says Emefiele

GOVERNOR of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, says Nigeria will aim to grow the palm oil sector again as the price is higher than that of crude oil in the international market.

Emefiele said this after a Senate panel cleared him for another five years in office following his reappointment by President Muhammadu Buhari. He added that the cocoa sector would also be given attention.

He said kudos should go to Buhari for the turn around being witnessed in Nigeria’s agricultural sector, as it was the president who insisted that “we must produce what we eat”.

“On agriculture, the credit should go to the president. It was what he said ‘eat what we produce’, that birthed the anchor borrowers programme,” Emefiele said.

“We have started looking at palm oil. The price of a barrel of palm oil is more than a barrel of crude oil. We will grow that market again. After palm oil, we will focus on cocoa in the south-west.”

While admitting that Nigeria has workable policies, Emefiele said implementation of these policies has been neglected “because we see sabotaged activities”.

“CBN will ensure that those who seek to undermine the policies of Nigeria will be brought to book. Pray for us because the road ahead is tough,” he said.

Emefiele’s screening by the Senate committee was more of ceremonial as the lawmakers unanimously agreed that he deserves a second term at the helm of affairs of the CBN.

One by one, members of the panel eulogised him and urged him to keep up the good work.

Chairman of the panel, Rafiu Ibrahim, said seeing Emefiele’s achievements, it was little wonder that he has become a target for blackmail on social media.

“I do not have any question for the Governor. I am overwhelmed. I wish you well and pray for you. May God continue to guide you,” Ibrahim said.

“Now, we know the reason why there are some videos on social media because in Nigeria, once you are a good person, some people will always try to bring you down. We will expeditiously take a report to the chamber for consideration. You can take a bow.”

Ibrahim was apparently referring to the recent audio clip making the rounds on social media in which Emefiele and another top official of the CBN were said to be discussing how to cover up an alleged N500 billion fraud.

The CBN has since denied the allegations and explained that the audio clip was maliciously edited in order to mislead the public.

The other members of the Senate panel, Philip Aduda, representing the FCT, and Kurfi Umaru, representing Katsina Central, all congratulated Emefiele on his reappointment and wished him well for the future.

Emefiele was first appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan on June 3, 2014.

His comments that palm oil is more expensive than crude oil, had also been expressed by Tope Fasua, an economist and the presidential candidate of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP) in the just concluded 2019 general election.

Fasua, during a presidential debate in December 2018, said Nigeria has no business relying on crude oil as our major source of income.

“A barrel of crude oil sells for $50 dollars today. A barrel contains 159 litres, that means a litre of crude oil sells for N116 or thereabouts, (but) one litre of palm oil sells for about N4oo, and it takes less effort (to produce),” he said.

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