By Gift Samuel, The Sight News
UYO- The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr. Godwin Emefiele has said that Nigeria amongst other things must remain vigilant to avoid sliding into recession again.
Speaking on Monday at the 25th Seminar for Finance Correspondents and Business Editors in Uyo with the theme, “Sustaining Economic Growth Beyond Recession”, Emefiele stated that those who have been entrusted with leadership and policymaking responsibilities must neither become complacent nor over-confident, but should strive to improve and sustain the same policies that has gotten the country this far.
The CBN Governor who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Mr. Edward Adamu, remarked that the CBN will continue to fine-tune its policies and strategies based on the understanding of evolving developments and supported by in-house technical analysis and simulations.
While noting that Nigeria’s economy was plunged into recession largely due to external shocks, he expressed delight that the economy has turned the corner with Nigeria’s worst days clearly behind it as the Foreign Exchange Reserves has recovered significantly from a low of just over US$23 billion in October 2016 to about US$47.37 billion as of 5 April 2018.
According to him, “For one, our import bill may have fallen but our manufacturing and agriculture sectors still have a long way to go if we must attain self-sufficiency in those sectors. We must not be quick to discard the restrictive measures which aided our recovery simply because the metrics have improved. We will remain proactive in ensuring that the welfare of Nigerians is optimised at any point in time”.
He further stated that in the area of Development Finance, the Bank will continue to provide access to much-needed credit to sectors with the potential to create jobs on a mass scale and will explore opportunities to expand the highly-successful Anchor Borrowers’ Programme to other crops and States.
“In order to continue our gains in local production and help boost non-oil exports, we are in the process of finalizing the creation of a N500 billion fund with the Nigeria ExportImport Bank (NEXIM) to assist local manufacturers interested in non-oil exports.
“In Monetary and Exchange Rate Policy, we have signalled from the last Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) that we will sustain the tight policies that have helped rein-in inflationary pressures. That is the reason we kept the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 14 percent. We will also continue the transparency and evenhandedness that has attracted inflows of FX into the
country while keeping FX supply to the market adequate” He said.
On the expectations from the policies going forward, he noted that: Inflationary pressure will continue to ease; FX Reserves will continue to grow, and may be about US$50 billion sometime later this year, following recent accretion; Economic Recovery will consolidate; Exchange Rate stability will continue as well as Strong policy coordination.
“To sustain our recovery, the need is greater now than ever for a robust policy coordination between the key aspects of economic policymaking space. This would include fiscal, monetary, exchange and trade policies, which must be targeted at protecting farmers to boost agricultural outputs, support local companies and enhance manufacturing and industrial capacities, with a view to diversifying the economy away from oil and fossil fuels” he noted.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Mr. Isaac Okorafor said the aim of the seminar is to look into other aspects of engagement on steps to take to ensure that Nigeria does not slide into recession again.
In his welcome address, the Branch Controller CBN Uyo, Mr. Okafor Nwokoro while noting that the theme of the seminar is very apt, urged all participants to take advantage of the window of opportunity offered by the seminar to upscale and broaden their knowledge.