WAIFEM’s Director General, Prof. Akpan Ekpo
The need to build the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s staff capacity on effective economic analysis was reinforced weekend when the apex bank sent its staff to the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM).
Welcoming the staff to the institute, WAIFEM’s Director General, Prof. Akpan Ekpo, remarked that the techniques often adopted for economic analysis are the building blocks for macroeconomic management, designed to sharpen the analytical skills of relevant technical staff of institutions and government agencies involved in economic management.
He noted that given the recent reform measures in the CBN, which are geared towards ensuring a strong and stable financial system, it is only rational that these reforms be complemented with sustained capacity building to provide a ready manpower base that keys into the bank’s agenda.
The CBN staff will undergo a three-week course on ‘techniques of economic analysis, monetary policy and financial management’ facilitated by a team of experienced experts and practitioners from the regional institute.
“This course will focus on modern quantitative tools of economic analysis including a review of macro-economic theory, statistical and econometric methods and research methodology. It will also emphasise hands-on exercises on cutting-edge econometric software packages, which will be conducted in the institute’s laboratory,’ Ekpo said.
He also pointed out that economic analysis is very significant in isolating relationships of cause and effect in the economy by making generalisations about production, technology and human behaviour.
He said the recurrent global economic crisis beginning from the 1980s to the recent one, which started from 2007, have made it mandatory for institutions involved in economic management to build and strengthen their indigenous capacity for policy making and analysis.
“This stems from the realisation that effective policy design by economic planners require that they are adequately equipped with the requisite tools and techniques of economic analysis to handle prevailing economic situations,” he said.
He said that a major goal of economic analysis is to help stakeholders understand the functions of the economy and the propelling forces that compel people to make choices under certain constraints.
He noted that although it is possible to observe actions and their consequences, observations and descriptions are not sufficient to understand and hence predict outcomes.
According to him, “decisions based on our understanding and answer to questions such as what is the nature and structure of our economy, what further reforms do we need or do not need and what should be our focal point are very critical because they have short and long-term impacts on the welfare of millions of people whose situation may either improve or worsen depending on assessment and intervention.”
He explained that economic theories help us to understand such important variables as the output, prices, and consumption of goods and services; the level of employment; and levels of savings and investment.
“However appropriate capacity building will need to be carried out for the various linkages between these variables and sectors of the economy to be highlighted and perhaps monitored on a sustainable level. Overall what is needed is a strong manpower base to effectively and efficiently ensure the right policy making for the country,” he said.
He expressed the institute’s appreciation for the confidence reposed in them by the Governor and management team of CBN in partnering with WAIFEM in the area of capacity building for its staff.