Meanwhile, Emefiele said there was no cause for alarm owing to the recent decline in the country’s external reserves.
He, however, stressed that even though there was need to build buffers, “unfortunately I must say that we are in a period where it is difficult to talk about building reserve.
“It is a choice we have to make and at this time, the choice for Nigeria is to maintain a stable exchange rate so that businesses can plan and we don’t create problem in the banking system assets.
“Naturally, when this happens, it results in weakening of assets, rising non-performing loans (NPLs), and other wide implications. This is why we will maintain the posture we have and we believe that it is sustainable in the short run,” Emefiele said.
According to him, practically, all emerging markets have suffered, not just by depreciation, but also loss of reserves since the interest rates normalisation commenced.
“India, for example, has depreciated almost 14 per cent, Ghana by almost 12 per cent, New Zealand by about 12 per cent, Indonesia by another 12 per cent, Australia by eight per cent, South Korea – eight per cent; Japan – six per cent; Thailand – six per cent; Philippines and Vietnam have also lost, but Nigeria has lost little or nothing.
“While we are at this meeting, our host country has reported a loss of about $20 billion in foreign exchange reserves and at the same time suffered currency depreciation, which is the same for the rest of the emerging market economies.
“For Nigeria, we have lost only reserves by a margin, in my view and at the same time, we have managed to sustain stability in our foreign exchange market. I think we have done a very good job, not only trying to maintain a stable exchange rate, but trying to avoid depreciating our currency so far in this early days of normalisation.
“We have lost reserve, yes, somewhat marginally in my view, and at the same time, we have managed to sustain stability in our foreign exchange market.”
Udoma Reacts to Human Capital Index Report
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, who said although the country didn’t perform better in the recent Human Capital Development index which was released by the World Bank last week, he attributed the decline to “cumulative neglect over a period of time.”
This, he said, was one of the issues the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) was set up.
“So, what I want to say, basically, is that it has been the focus in the ERGP. We have increased funding to those areas that bother on human capital development because we are conscious of investing in our people. But it takes time for these things to manifest.”