Deji Elumoye in Abuja
Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, Wednesday gave an insight into what his second term in office will look like saying his administration will be hard on the nation’s economic saboteurs.
Emefiele, who made this disclosure while being screened for a second and final term in office by the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, assured that if confirmed, “we will push very hard to ensure that those who seek to undermine the policies of Nigeria without respecting the laws of this country will be brought to book under any circumstances”.
The CBN Governor who appreciated the avalanche of prayer said for his success by the committee members led by the Chairman, Senator Adebayo Ibrahim, emphasised that the road ahead of him is very rough saying “I thank you for praying for me because we need it and I say this because the road ahead is still rough and very tough”.
He, therefore, called on the citizenry to cultivate the habit of respecting government policies and laws.
Said he : “I want to appeal to all Nigerians that a time comes in the history of a country where you have to learn to respect the policies and laws of a country. Part of the problem that we have seen in Nigeria is lack of respect for the policies of this country. Nigeria is very good at putting in place policies that are sound and workable. But implementation has always been almost zero. And it is arising because we see people sabotaging government activities. We see people when policies are made, where they pick up the pieces of paper about the policy, what they think about is how do we circumvent this policy?”
Emefiele told the committee members that it is not true that Nigeria operates a multiple exchange rate.
“We do not have multiple exchange rate. When you talk of multiple exchange rate, you talk about divergence in exchange rate. Substantially today, our rates have converge around N360 to $1. Because the investors and exporters will know which is the dominant market for procurement of foreign exchange today, it hovers around that rate. But what you will find is multiple windows and we don’t have any apologies for it”.
He further justified multiple windows of exchange rate saying “When you talk about multiple windows, the Central Bank has a responsibility to provide foreign exchange to everybody. What we saw that resulted in us creating multiple eindows, we want to make sure that those who seek to travel who will normally go to our banks to ask for foreign exchange and the banks will turn them away, and these people will seek to go to black market to buy foreign exchange, we said no. We will allocate specific sums of money to banks to allocate to people who want to travel. We will allocate specific sums of money to you to allocate to those who are into the small and medium enterprise business. And we will allocate funds to you for you to give to those who are in your corporate sectors.
“So, you will find multiple windows. Because the rates at which foreign exchange is traded through all these windows are substantially the same. So, there is no multiple exchange rate but I will admit there is multiple windows and it is for a good reason”.
He said Nigeria’s population was expected to peak at 425 million people by year 2050 going by the IMF/ World Bank Economic Outlook.
According to him, “the Central Bank of Nigeria from the monetary policy side, has come to realisation that using the instrumentality of the Anchor Borrowers Programme where acesss to credit is being provided to our masses all over the country, that it will be a way to generate employment and boost economic activity amongst our rural population.
“So from our side in the monetary policy, we will do everything possible to ensure that with the mandate that is bestowed on us, we will pull this country forward”.
Emefiele shared with the Senators his experience during a recent visit to an Asian nation.
His words: “I entered the country happy but I came out of the country sad. Sad because I could see the level of development that this country has achieved over the last 50 years. And I cast my mind back and looked at my country Nigeria that what have we achieved? This is what gives me the push that at my age of 57, I saw this country when it was good. That I am looking at the country today and I am saying I don’t want to say it is bad but I want to say that we have a lot of work to do. Because the country has no doubt receded somewhat.
“For some of you who are very good in doing calculations, go and check today: the price of a barrel of palm oil is more than the price of a barrel of crude oil. So, what happened to our country? There were countries when they had the opportunities in agriculture and also had opportunities in the crude sector, they didn’t let their guards down. But unfortunately we did and that is what we are paying for today. So that when there are some external shocks in the crude oil market, we sneeze, but we only smile when the market is good.
The CBN Governor however gave an assurance that “we will grow that market back again and after that, we will go into cocoa in the South West area to be sure that what we are doing permeates all the nooks and crannies of this country. Because we think we owe Nigerians such feat.”