Though its 60 percent foreign exchange utilization policy to the manufacturing sector, The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it disbursed $989.6 million to 9206 companies in January 2017.
Key sectors that benefited from the $989.6 million included Agriculture, Raw materials, and Finished goods, among others.
Also, commercial banks that disbursed the funds included Access Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc., Ecobank, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, First City Monument Bank Plc. and Fidelity Bank Plc.
Others are Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Heritage Bank Plc, Jaiz Bank Plc, among other commercial banks operating in the country.
However, the CBN said it has disbursed the sum of $2.83 billion for utilization in the critical sectors of the economy such as manufacturing, agriculture aviation, petroleum products between December 2016 and January 2017.
According to the apex bank, priority was given to manufacturing, raw material and agriculture above other demands as its disbursements are targeted at employment generating and wealth creating sectors of the economy.
CBN in a press release signed by the acting director, corporate communications, Mr. Isaac Okorafor stated that the sum of $609 million and $228 million were released for raw materials in the months of December and January respectively while manufacturing also attracted the sum $53 million and $71 million respectively during the same period.
The Foreign exchange utilization figure indicated that the sums of $1.839 billion and $0.989 billion respectively were extended to critical sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, petroleum products and airlines among others in December 2016 and January 2017.
Okorafor stressed the determination of the apex bank to continue to ease the foreign exchange pressure on critical sectors.
However, the CBN said the nation’s production level dropped by 6.1 points to 45.2 points in February as against 51.3 points recorded in January this year.
The CBN in its Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) report for February said production activity slowed in February due to a shortage foreign exchange that made it difficult for companies to source for raw materials.
The considered 12 manufacturing sub-sectors recorded declines in production level during the review month while the petroleum & coal products sub-sector remained unchanged.
The report noted that the appliances & components; food, beverage & tobacco products and nonmetallic mineral products recorded growth in production
The CBN’s PMI of private-sector activity dropped to 45.4 points in February from 50.6 points in January, falling below the 50 point line that denotes increases in activity.
On Employment level index in the month of February 2017, CBN report disclosed that “it stood at 41.7 points as against 45.3 point recorded in January, indicating declines in employment level for the twenty-fourth consecutive month. However, the index declined at a faster rate when compared with the level in the preceding month.”