Hard Choices Required To Steer Economy Out Of Recession — Emefiele | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Hard Choices Required To Steer Economy Out Of Recession — Emefiele

Emefiele, fall of naira
Posted: Sep 5, 2016 at 5:29 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has again stressed the need for all Nigerians to face the reality of the recession the country is undergoing, saying that these are not normal times across the globe and that hard choices are required to turn around the current situation.

Delivering a lecture to participants of the Senior Executive Course 38 at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies in Kuru, near Jos, at the weekend, Emefiele vowed to deploy appropriate monetary policy tools to attain an inclusive growth by bolstering productive capacity and ensuring that Nigerian economy is indeed self-sufficient.

He disclosed that the country was making over $3 billion at the height of the oil boom, pointing out that it can hardly make $500 million now. He, therefore, challenged the elite who prefer imported materials to look inward, adding that it is the only way to make the economy grow again.

The apex bank chief stated that developments over the last two years show that these are not normal times by any stretch of imagination, noting that the CBN has always tried to act in good faith, with the best available information and in cognizance of current economic conditions, to pursue the goals of price and financial system stability, as well as catalyze job creation and inclusive growth in the country.

The governor, in the lecture entitled ‘Managing Monetary Policy in Turbulent Times’ stated that policies that receive applause from the people often are not really good, because the people praising the policies know that they can circumvent them.

“But if people criticise your policies, especially in Nigeria, such policies are good; people criticise things they know they cannot circumvent,” he said.

He, therefore, urged Nigerians to be resolutely committed to the course of moving the economy forward and be motivated by the achievability of the collective desire to strengthen the country’s economic fundamentals.

When prodded to give insight on how soon the economy will recover from the current recession, he stated that when Nigerians stop importing toothpicks, stop eating imported rice cultivated with chemical, stop eating chicken imported and preserved with formaldehyde, then the nation’s economy will begin to grow.

“Twenty years ago, we had textile, we had the groundnut pyramids, cocoa with which the legendary Cocoa House was built and palm oil. We also used revenue from agriculture to build our economy. But after we found oil, we abandoned all that for easy money. Today, we are suffering the consequences.”

According to him, with the size and structure of the country’s import bills, it is apparent that Nigerians, as a people, cannot continue to depend on other countries for things that can easily be produced locally. By so doing, Nigerians are merely exporting jobs and importing poverty, he stressed.

“How do we justify the importation of items like eggs from South Africa, beef from Zambia and toothpick from China?” Emefiele queried.

He expressed worry that the country cannot put its own institutions in order so as to avoid the huge amount being spent abroad, adding that the best Nigerian professionals are found abroad.

Responding to a question by one of the course participants bordering on single treasury account (TSA), Emefiele said that the introduction of the TSA was one of the best and boldest decisions any administration in the country had so far taken.

According to him, the impression that the TSA was stifling banks was created to draw unnecessary sympathy, adding that it is unfortunate that this is the way the banks have interpreted it.

“When I was in the bank, how much loan did I give you as a small and medium-sized enterprise?” Emefiele asked.