Paul Obi in Abuja
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Saturday told critics of its monetary policies that its measures remained the best and most sustainable as they were designed to lift the economy out of the woods.
Kaduna State Governor, Ahmed El-Rufai, a prominent member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, had last week taken a swipe at the CBN, faulting its decision to hike the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), the benchmark interest rate, to 14 per cent from 12 per cent, which he pointed out, was causing massive job losses.
El-Rufai had warned that “unless the Central Bank and the banking system make a conscious decision to bring the interest rate down, one day we will legislate it,” dismissing CBN’s perennial reasons for high interest rate, and used expletive to express his disgust.
But speaking at Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), The Everlasting Arms Parish, Garki, Teens’ Career Conference, the Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele, said the bank’s policies remained the best therapy and antidote to Nigeria’s sinking economy.
Represented by CBN Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, Dr Sarah Alade, the CBN governor said, “At this moment, what we are doing is what is best for the economy.”
“The concern even in this hall has been the slide in the naira. And I have told you, I did answer the question by saying that we also need to ensure that we diversify the economy, so that we can earn more dollar, we can have more export,” he added.
Emefiele explained that the apex bank remained supportive of government’s efforts at finding practical solutions to the lingering economic crisis, stressing that, the priority now at the bank was how to sail Nigeria out of the economic crisis.
“And this, we are also supporting the efforts of the government, once we are able to do this, we would then be able to earn the interest rate that people want. At this particular time, to be able to get out of the situation, we are in, we need to have the decisions we have taken at the right time.”
On whether the CBN’s Quantitative Easing (QE), an interventionist policy by the apex bank to rescue the economy from total collapse has been effective, Alade stated that, “the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) considers all these factors before we take decisions and we will do what is right for the economy. Whatever policies we need to take to ensure that the economy comes out stronger, we do it and at the right time.”
Speaking further, the CBN boss advised the teens to stay focus on their dreams for greatness, stressing that, hard work, focus and commitment remained the key to success.
Assuring them that the bank took the growth and development of youths in the country seriously, he added that, “one thing that keeps me awake at night is how to create an enabling environment for our youths to grow.
“One of my concerns at the CBN is how to ensure that our youths get access to finance. We recognised this fact and we want to reduce this obstacle to access to finance for the youths,” he said.
Director General of National Pension Commission (PENCOM), Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, said under her watch the Nigerian pension sub-sector has grown to the tune of about N5.7 trillion with about 7.1 million subscribers.
Anohu-Amazu urged the youths to ensure that the virtues of discipline, focus, honesty remain cardinal in the day-to-day life as they pursue their various dreams.
The PENCOM DG decried the quality of manpower in the Nigeria at the moment, stating that, more than 80 per cent of applicants looking for jobs were unemployable, as proven by the poor quality of the resumes and applications.
She charged the youths to imbibe the spirit of saving and investment, as a way of preparing for a better future ahead.
Also, former Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, encouraged the youths not to mortgage their souls in the course of wanting to be great in life.
Omoigui-Okauru implored them to rather pay attention to putting extra efforts in the pursuit of their goals in life.
Also, Nigerian Comedian, Atunyota Akporobomerere, popularly known as Ali Baba made a presentation at the session, urging the youth to follow their respective dreams with all rigour and confidence, which, he said, are the bedrock of success.
The conference was organised by the Chairman, THISDAY Editorial Board, Mr Olusegun Adeniyi, and Pastor & Mrs. Eval Azodoh of the Everlasting Arms Parish, among others.