The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the bank had blocked the accounts of some smugglers sabotaging Nigeria’s economy in the textile, rice and palm oil industry.
Emefiele disclosed this during an interview at the roundtable session on developing a road map for greater growth and job creation in Nigeria, which was attended by eminent personalities in the financial sector on Saturday.
The event was organised to allow stakeholders in the private sector to air their views and also provide some inputs into the road map to be unveiled in due course for achieving greater growth and job creation in Nigeria.
He said, “In due course, we will come up with the names of those identified but we want to be sure that we have come up with something that is credible and that you cannot deny. At this stage, we have already blocked the accounts of some in the textile, rice and palm oil industries.
“We are investigating those accounts and as information becomes clearer and as we can clearly say they have committed the offence, we will go to the next round which is to forbid any Nigerian banks from opening any account with them.”
He said that smuggling and dumping had sabotaged economic policies in Nigeria.
Emefiele said, “Nigeria is very good at making brilliant economic policies, but we have identified smugglers and dumpers as those who sabotage these policies and we will deal with them. In our strategy, we will not bother ourselves because there is an agency of government responsible for border control.
“But If these people pass through the border control, we will use the instrumentality of being the regulator and head of the banking system, to get the banks to provide all the details of these smugglers and dumpers, we will investigate the accounts, and if they are found culpable in economic sabotage bordering on dumping and smuggling in Nigeria, we will not only block their accounts, we will close their accounts in all the banks in Nigeria.
“We will close the accounts of the owners of such companies, and we will close the accounts of top management members of those companies because they know that their companies are involved in smuggling and they should not be supporting such.”
Emefiele said that the interactive session was important in light of the challenges that confronted the nation, following the massive drop in crude oil prices between 2015 and 2017.
He recalled that the crisis brought to the fore, the challenge an economy could face when it relied on a single commodity for most of its foreign exchange earnings and government revenue.
The CBN governor said, “The crisis also underscored the need for measures that will drive productivity in key sectors of the Nigerian economy such as agriculture and core manufacturing.
“Productivity growth in these sectors are badly needed to insulate our economy from volatilities in the crude oil market and help in creating jobs on a mass scale, given our large and growing population.”