General Yakubu Gowon (rtd)
By Obinna Chima
Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd) at the weekend advised members of the National Assembly to discard the move to remove the autonomy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Gowon gave this advice at the fourth memorial lecture of the Clement Isong Foundation tagged: “The Nigerian Banking Sector: Reforming Opportunities for Real Sector Growth,” held in Lagos.
He stated that the independence of the apex bank was critical for the development of the country.
Gowon, who was the chairman at the occasion said: “I have a fundamental belief in the independence of the CBN. I also commend the courage of the current CBN governor for speaking out in defence of the independence of the CBN. I firmly support I firmly support the call that the independence of the apex bank should be preserved and that it should not be neither be subjected to control by neither the executive nor the legislature arms of government.”
In his presentation, CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said that the prospect of the real sector growth in the country is bright, given the various reforms in the financial sector.
According to the regulator, the reforms were aimed at unlocking the credit potentials of deposit money banks.
Sanusi also argued that the growth in credit to the private sector reflected improved credit flow by the banking system emanating from the various reforms on the sector.
The CBN governor whose lecture was presented by the Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, CBN, Alhaji Suleiman Barau, listed real sector activities to include agriculture, industry, building and construction, and services.
“The sector is strategic for a variety of reasons. First, the sector produces and distributes tangible goods and services required to satisfy aggregate demand in the economy. The performance of the sector provides a gauge or an indirect measure of the standard of living of the people. Second, the performance of the sector can be used to gauge the effectiveness of macroeconomic policies. Government policies can only be adjudged to be.
“The financial sector reforms in Nigeria over the years were aimed at repositioning financial institutions for effective mobilisation and utilisation of financial services for economic development. Though outcomes have been mixed and some challenges still persist, concerted efforts are being made to overcome them.
“Though still fragile, financial markets have recovered faster than expected, urging greater efforts in accelerating reforms in the other sectors of the economy and protect depositors’/shareholders fund. In addition, the rebound in international commodity prices is expected to further support economic growth in commodity producing regions, including Nigeria.”
He further declared that various initiatives that had been taken by the CBN were expected to strengthen the financial system and create an enabling environment for investment in the Nigerian economy, while ensuring stability in the Nigerian macroeconomic environment.