The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele has outlined the monetary policy thrust for 2019, saying that the Bank is of the view that the short-term outlook of the Nigerian economy remains good, adding that current tight stance of the Bank is expected to continue in the near-term, due to the rising inflation expectations and exchange market pressures.
He also said that the Bank, working with the Federal Government, was open to foreign investors who were keen to support efforts at unlocking the immense opportunities in Nigeria’s economy.
Mr. Emefiele stated these while delivering the keynote address entitled: “Strengthening the Economic Recovery Process in Nigeria” at the 53rd Annual Bankers’ Dinner of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) on Friday, November 30, 2018.
“Your Central Bank today is more committed to creating wealth and putting in place strong policies for creating jobs for our growing youth population; your Central Bank today is ever more committed to promoting a more stable and resilient financial system,” he said.
While advising against hasty criticism of monetary policies, which he said were taken based on macroeconomic and geopolitical contexts, he assured that the CBN would always act in good faith, with the best available information and in cognizance of current economic conditions, to pursue price and financial system stability, support job creation on a massive scale and ensure a more inclusive growth in the economy.
On the restriction of access to foreign exchange from the Nigerian market for 41 items that can be produced in Nigeria, he reeled out statistics to show that the policy had helped to boost local production of the items. He said that the combination of the restriction on 41 items along with other measures imposed by the fiscal and monetary authorities helped to promote the recovery that got Nigeria out of recession.
He warned that any attempt to reverse the policy could negatively affect economic growth in the country, particularly as it relates to the push to diversify the Nigerian economy. He also disclosed that the CBN’s Economic Intelligence and Banking Supervision Departments would work closely with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to expose and sanction any bank, company or Foreign Exchange operator that colludes with individuals or companies to undermine the policy on 41 items.
Speaking on the success of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, he said the development finance intervention scheme had ensured that Nigeria emerged from being a net importer of rice to becoming a major producer of rice, supplying key markets in neighboring countries. According to him, as at October 2018, a total number of 862,069 farmers cultivating about 835,239 hectares, across 16 different commodities, had so far benefited from the programme, which had generated 2,502,675 jobs across the country.
He said the Nigerian economy had performed creditably compared to the performance of other emerging markets such as Brazil, South Africa, Turkey, and Argentina, adding that the country’s dominance over the review period was due to the stability of the Investors & Exporters (I&E) Foreign Exchange window rate and the yields being high by emerging-market standards.
In spite of the impact of the recession that Nigeria experienced, he said the country’s economy remained the largest in Africa by the size of its GDP, with a very well diversified mix of opportunities across different sectors, such as ICT, Manufacturing, Solid Minerals, Trade and Agriculture. He assured investors that their investments in the country would be protected by the monetary and fiscal authorities.
Other issues the Governor spoke on were the efforts of the Bank at ensuring financial inclusion, credit allocation, Risk Based Supervision, Gross Domestic Product, inflation, exchange rate, balance of payment and domestic credit.
Present at the dinner were the Deputy Governors of the CBN, Dr. Okwu Joseph Nnanna (Economic Policy) and Mrs. Aishah Ahmad (Financial System Stability); the President/Chairman, of Council, CIBN, Dr. Uche Olowu; representatives of the Governors of Lagos and Kano States; the former CBN Governor, Chief Joseph Sanusi; Chief Executives Officers of Deposit Money Banks; Departmental Directors from the CBN; bankers and investors.