CITING economic sabotage, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, yesterday said that it would close bank accounts of any company or person caught in smuggling and dumping of banned products into the country.
Speaking at a consultative round table, titled: ‘Growing for growth’, in Lagos, CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele said: “Smugglers and dumpers are the major sabotage to the country’s economic policies. Nigeria is very good at making brilliant economic policies but we have identified smugglers and dumpers as those who sabotage these policies and we have decided we will deal with them and the strategy we came up with is that we will not bother ourselves.
There is an agency of the government that is responsible for border control but that if these people pass through this border control, we would use the instrumentality of being the regulator for the banking system, to make sure that we get the banks to provide all details about these smugglers and dumpers, to provide investigation 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 Nigerian banks simultaneously. We will close the accounts of the owners of those 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 those keep and of things.
On the reason for the round table discussion, Emefiele said: “We are here today as part of the engagement that we have planned, preparatory to the CBN releasing another five year vision and agenda for the next tenure of the Governor of CBN. As you can see, we have at this session private sector leaders like Aliko Dangote, people in telecommunications, people in manufacturing, people in the IT sector, people in the agricultural sector and banking sector. All of them are represented.
“Basically, what we are saying here is that we want to give them opportunity, I will use the word to vent their view about what they think the CBN, the monetary policy committee should be doing in the next five years to support the economy and indeed to support the growth of the economy.”
Some private sector stakeholders at the roundtable highlighted various issues to be tackled by the CBN’s Governor agenda.
Aliko Dangote, Founder and Chairman of Dangote Group, said for Nigeria to witness economic growth, government should partner with the organised private sector, sort out the electricity issue, banks should give easy access to consumer credit, increase house mortgages, increase focus on agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
He said: “Government needs to have partnership with the private companies to access growth. It needs to encourage private sector investors, so that they do not rely on oil to pay salaries.
That of oil should go into implementation for perfection of the economy. We the local investors should drive this country. No foreigner will invest in the country unless we locals do. The other thing that we need to look at is easy access to consumer credit. Consumer credit will help the government in fighting corruption. Also another issue is smuggling. There is no country that can survive near the Republic of Benin because their main job s facilitating smuggling.”
On his part, Atedo Peterside, Founder, Stanbic IBTC Bank, listed high tax rates, among others, as harmful to the growth of young and start ups businesses, exchange rate instability, high inflationary rate, among others, as bottlenecks impeding growth in the economy.