ABUJA, NOVEMBER 18, 2016 – Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, says but for the timely policy implementations over the years by the CBN, the nation’s economy would have been worse off and even probably collapsed.
He said successive policies implemented by the apex bank were responsible for the healthy status of the Nigerian banks, as vulnerable Nigerians and some key economic sectors had been protected and given lifelines by the CBN.
Speaking yesterday at the All Civil Society National Economic Summit, held in Abuja, Emefiele who was represented by his Special Assistant, Mr Emmanuel Ukeje, said against the backdrop of criticisms of some key decisions of the CBN, the truth remains that loop holes had been blocked and a far more sanitised environment provided for in the banking industry.
“If policies like recapitalisation and the Treasury Single Account had not been created, you wouldn’t have imagined what our banks would have become. For instance, prior to recapaitalition, the total number of commercial banks could not match asset base of a single South African bank. But this is not the case anymore as our banks are now robust.
“The same goes for TSA which removed sharp practices in some banks as instances arose where you had banks using government money lodged with them to buy government bonds. In other words, government was buying bonds back with their own cash through these banks which basically reaped the system”, Emefiele stated.
The CBN Governor who said government would soon outline steps being taken by the government to pull out of recession stated that the government was being careful not to spend on non-productive sectors but bent on firing the economy to super growth through wise utilisation and allocation of resources to critical and vital areas.
Speaking at the event earlier, former Villa Chaplain, Prof. Yusuf Obaje, who presented a paper at the event called for adoption of a national ideology, stating that this had become pertinent if the nation was to have a developmental footspring.
He regretted that despite the times the country was in, there was nothing much being done by all including the citizenry to change the tides.
While calling for a national ideology as a propelling force for a greater Nigeria, Obaje also urged the CBN to tackle the high interest rates charged by banks to allow growth in small scale industries.
President, Coalition of Civil Society Groups, Comrade Bassey Etuk, while commending the identification of economic problems by the Nigerian government and the show of strenuous efforts at addressing the issues, said the best of policies and programmes are only as good as the public acceptance and mass support accorded such policies.
“The efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari-led government through the Central Bank of Nigeria in ensuring the implementation of laudable monetary policies, have helped in no small measure to mitigate what otherwise would have been a more disastrous situation than what we are currently passing through as a nation.
“The exclusion of certain items from access to foreign exchange, implementation of the Bank Verification Number, BVN, and the Treasury Single Account credit support in favour of local production such as rice, maize and sorghum to mention but a few are well thought out policies deliberately targeted at solving the myriad if challenges already created by many years of planlessness”, Comrade Williams stated.