The Central Bank of Nigeria has said mechanised farming is the way out of poverty and unemployment that is currently confronting the country, as it urged citizens to strive to engage in productive ventures to improve their standard of living.

Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele, who was represented by the Assistant Director, Corporate Communications, gave the advice over the weekend in Lokoja during a three-day sensitization seminar for bank customers tagged “CBN Fair”.

The CBN governor said gone are the days when the CBN was regarded as inaccessible to members of the public, stressing that the new CBN under his leadership is highly professional, people-focused, and apolitical.

According to him, “We now have a Central Bank that is strictly devoted to building a resilient financial system that can serve the growth and development needs of our beloved country Nigeria.”

He said hitherto the economic growth in the country was not too favourable because of foreign exchange used in importing some goods which can naturally be produced in the country, but the CBN in the last five years has identified about 41-43 items that can now be produced locally to boost the economy. This, he said, accounted for the reduction of foreign exchange rate which used to be N520 to a dollar, but has now been reduced to N360 to a dollar, with more effort being made to further beat down the exchange rate.

While calling on Nigerians to take up mechanised farming, the governor said the CBN has various incentives, including loans to farmers especially on rice production and other items, that could help boost their output and in turn boost the economy.

At the seminar, bank customers were educated on their various rights and duties, including how to handle the naira notes and how to obtain loans and repay back, and the consequences of default.

Presentations were done by Mrs E.A Keagha of the currency operation Dept, Mr O.O Atanda of the Consumer protection Dept, Mr W. Ajakaiye of the payment system Dept ,Mr George Ogudu of the financial inclusion Secretariat and Mrs N.O Nwabukwu of the development finance dept, while Mr Sam Okogbue gave the overview of the seminar.