The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has said that the bank’s capital control policy has helped the country save up to N217 billion worth of foreign exchange, which could have been expended on rice importation.

The CBN boss, who made the disclosure at the 2017 Bankers Dinner in Lagos state affirmed that the saved fund was achieved within the first year of implementing the policy, which took-off in 2016.

Emefiele stated that the capital control policy, which excluded 41 items from accessing foreign exchange at the official window has brought about an improvement in domestic production of rice and other food items in the country.

He noted that due to the policy, Nigeria’s dependence on Thailand for rice imports had greatly reduced from 1.2 million metric tonnes to only 784 metric tonnes by the end of 2016.

The CBN Governor added that this gap in rice supply has been filled with a boost in local production from Kebbi state, which processes 320 tonnes of rice per day, and Kano state, which generates more than 100 truckloads of paddy rice daily.

He expressed optimism that inflation would reduce next year, as the socio-economic factors that are driving up food prices are being resolved.

“Over the last 12 months, Nigeria’s reserves grew by over $10 billion from just over $23 billion in October 2016 to over $33 billion in October 2017. It is my belief that if we remain resolute with our efforts, policies and actions, we can attain position of about $40 billion by end 2018,” he said.

The CBN Governor described the feat as a product of the Federal Government’s attempts to create jobs locally, improve the wealth of our rural population, improve industrial capacities and ultimately attain economic growth in the country.