Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki (middle); Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu (left) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, after Emefiele's visit to the National Assembly.
SENATE President, Dr Bukola Saraki, on Wednesday, asked the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to recover the sum of N30 billion allegedly granted as waivers to rice importers by the administration of former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan.
Saraki, who made the call when he spoke to newsmen after a three-hour meeting with the Governor of CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said the agencies should recover the funds meant for the country.
He stated that the CBN must take steps to diversify the nation’s economy and reduce import dependency.
“We must also show the big signals in things that will bring out success of this policy, for example, you (CBN team) brought to our notice the issue of the waivers on taxes and duties, especially on rice, which is about N30 billion that were granted to certain companies, this money must be paid back to the Federal Government.“We have mentioned this to the Governor of Central Bank. It will be our resolve too after we resume to get the Nigerian Customs to act on this. Even before that, we cannot be taking some of these top positions while some people will get away... and will not pay what they are supposed to pay and what they should return to government.
“We have told the governor of CBN as well, he should also go and collaborate with Customs to ensure that this N30 billion come back to the government coffers, so that we will be seen to be doing things to make this policy successful,” he said.
Emefiele, in his brief to the senators, said the nation’s foreign reserve had hit $ 31.8 billion.
He said triple growth was sluggish at 3.3 per cent in 2014, due to series of challenges, adding that only the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) showed significant signs of a pick-up, even in 2015.
He stated that despite the shocks, Nigerian GDP increased by 6.2 per cent in 2014.
“Headline inflation remained stable throughout the year, although it has crept up to the upper limit of Central Bank range of 69 per cent. Import prices inflation rose to 8.9 per cent. Inflation rose gradually to eight per cent in December 2014 to nine per cent in May, 2015.
“Reflecting the sharp fall in oil prices and speculative foreign exchange activities, the external reserve declined from $37.3 billion in June 2014 to $29.1 billion at the end of June of 2015.
“I am delighted to note that with the strong efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari to block all leakages, as well as the vigilant demand management strategy of the CBN, we have seen our foreign exchange reserve begin a gradual recovery.
“As of July 7, 2015, the reserve stood at $31.89 billion, a trend we find extremely gratifying,” he said.


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