Emefiele said this in Nsukka on Saturday in a lecture titled “The Dilemma of Monetary Policy and Exchange Rate Management in a Recession: Potential Options for Nigeria”.
The event was to mark the second Home-coming Lecture of the Department of Economics, University of Nigeria Nsukka.
He said CBN recently embarked on aggressive drive to close the gap between the interbank and pararell market which it’s positive impact was already evident in the economy.
“CBN will continue to monitor evolving situations and constantly review it’s polices to ensure the best for the economy,” he said.
“How do we justify the importation of items like apple, cucumber and eggs from South Africa, beef from Zambia and toothpicks from China.
“These are items we can locally produce and use money in importing these items to beef up local industries that will in turn create employments for our youths.
“We must take cognizance of the fact that imports are leakages to every economy, ” he said.
Emefiele said the country missed opportunity of being a great economy when it saw oil and abandoned agriculture which was the backbone of the economy in 1960s and 1970s .
” In those good days, the south east and south south are known for palm oil, the south west for for Cocoa and north for groundnut but we saw oil and abandoned agriculture.
” Country like Netherland is oil producing but also produces agriculture in large quantities, majority of fish we consume in this country is from Netherland,” he said.
He said the apex bank was aware of the pains Nigerians were going through because of the economic recession.
He said it was an opportunity to look inward to diversify the economy and come off the recession stronger.
“This recession provides opportunity for us to look inward, diversify the economy, produce locally and create employments for our youths.
“We must diversify our economy and go back to agriculture as we can not survive as a people by importing everything .
“We must export more and import few items in oder to make our economy strong and increase our foreign exchange earning,” he said.
The Vice-Chacellor of UNN, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba, expressed appreciation to the governor for accepting the invitation to deliver the lecture.