FG, CBN to bring down interest rates

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The vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has said that the government will have to look at how to substantially reduce interest rates to make it easier for businesses to take credit.

Speaking when he received the German Industry and Commerce delegation to Nigeria at the Presidential Villa, Abuja yesterday, Osinbajo said inflation had declined considerably in recent times and hoped that the Central Bank of Nigeria will be able work on interest rates in a very short time “especially with the physical situation improving very considerably to make some important changes.

“I just want to say that Nigeria is set for business…A lot of the physical issues and concerns around interest rates, we are working on it now that inflation has declined steadily in the past 18 months. We are certainly going to have to look at how to substantially reduce interest rates to make it easier for businesses to take credit. We are in a very good place, especially with the physical situation improving very considerably to make some important changes. We are hoping the Central Bank will be able to do so in a very short time. Nigeria is a place to look at for innovation and technology; we have so many young people there, and we think that might be an interesting opportunity as well,” he said.

Osinbajo also said the federal government was continually working hard to create an environment that makes it much easier for businesses to thrive in the country.

Furthermore, he said government was looking at ways to solve infrastructure and economic issues.

“A few weeks ago, we completed the Focus Labs which was a way by which we thought we could crack some of the difficult problems concerning investors coming into Nigeria. There were a wide range of investors in power, oil and gas, various sectors. They had one issue or the other with their investments, and we had over a six-week period, we worked through each of those problems with government agencies in attendance.

“It was a very innovative experience, because we had all government agencies in the same room with investors who had issues, and we ensured that the investors were able to get some results from the Focus Labs. We intend to take that approach in resolving many of the other issues that have been outlined. I think minister of industry mentioned that in relation to Nigerian Investment Promotion Council’s approach in solving some of these problems,” said.

The delegation was led by the head of division, Internationalization Department Africa, Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ulrich Konstantin Rieger, alongside the German Ambassador to Nigeria, Bernhard Schlagheck.

Responding, Rieger acknowledged that the government’s economic policy initiatives aimed at improving Nigeria’s rating as a more investor-friendly destination.

“After difficult years, Nigeria is facing an upward trend; the investment climate seems to be improving. For foreign companies, Nigeria is one of the most promising markets in Africa,” he added.

Also present at the meeting was the minister of industry, trade and investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, and other senior government officials.

Enelamah, in his remarks, said “it is deliberate policy of the federal government to partner more with the private sector and strategically with supportive governments such as Germany’s to further improve the country’s business climate.”

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