THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), yesterday, said that it sold $1.1billion to 4,328 firms in November with Crown Flour Mills and five fuel importers receiving the largest share. The apex bank which revealed this in its report on foreign exchange utilisation for the month of November 2016 on its website, indicated that 20 firms received the largest share of $322.79 million, led by Crown Flour Mills which got $52.5 million through Access Bank and Coronation Merchant Bank for importation of Russian wheat.
The company was followed by five others which received $111.2 million for fuel importation. The companies are MRS Oil and Gas ($36.9 million), NIPCO Trading Company (N32.2 million), Forte Oil Plc ($13.2 million), Rahamaniyya Oil & Gas ($10.8 million), and OandO marketing Plc ($8.7 million), and A.A RANO NIG LTD ($14, 25 million). Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele Other companies in the top 20 categories are Watcot Limited ($24 million), C Technology Distribution ($21.2 million), British American Tobacco Limited ($19.85 million) and IHS Towers of Strength ($19.6 million). The rest include: IPI Powertech Nigeria Limited ($17.1 million), Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc ($15.64 million), Dangote Sugar Refinery ($14.79 million), Tiger Branded Consumer Goods Plc ($14.79 million), Edo Cement Company Limited ($10.3 million), Stanbic Nominees ($8.9 million) and De United Foods Plc ($7.83 million). CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Tuesday, said the apex bank would maintain its policy of setting aside 60 percent of total foreign exchange available to banks for the manufacturing sector including operators in the power sector. Speaking in Abuja at a press briefing at the end of the meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), he said: “The 60 per cent that has been set aside of all foreign exchange that is available to all the banks to manufacturers. We did that for a purpose because we felt that there is need to support manufacturing sector.” There is need to ensure that foreign exchange is made available to those that will provide jobs and get the manufacturing and industrial outputs to look positive. And I am happy that the recent data released by the Nigerian Bureau of statistics has started to show that the PMI is looking upward. “The 60 per cent that is set aside for the manufacturers, I dare say that those in the power sector also qualify for that because they are importing plants and equipment or components for their transformers and generators for their machines. I don’t mean generators that people will put in their houses and generate electricity for themselves. We will appeal to the banks to look in their directions increasingly.”