Why We Raised CRR to 27.5%—Emefiele

By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News

ABUJA: The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) in its first meeting for 2020 on Friday, voted to raise the Cash Reserve Requirement (CRR) from 22.5 to 27.5 percent.

The Sight News gathered that the CRR was altered, so as to mop up excess liquidity in the market and control inflation.

CRR determines the minimum deposit commercial banks must hold in reserves with the Apex Bank rather than lend out. With the raise, Deposit Money Banks in Nigeria would have to increase their cash reserves with the Central Bank.

Briefing Journalists after the MPC meeting in Abuja, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, stated that the Committee by a decision of nine members, voted to alter the Cash Reserve Requirement (CRR) by 500 basis point from 22.5 percent to 27.5 percent while leaving all other policy parameters constant.

According to him, the MPC voted to change the CRR from 22.5 to 27.5 percent, retain the MPR at 13.5 percent, retain the Assymetric Corridor of +200/-500 basis point around the MPR and retain Liquidity Ratio at 30 percent

Emefiele, while noting that the CRR is being used to mop up liquidity, in order to control inflation, explained that Monetary Policy could not sit idle and allow inflation to rise above 12 percent, and so, it took the decision to be very aggressive, through tightening and using all forms of monetary policy instruments available to the bank to drive down inflation.

In his words, “Committee realised that there is a lot of liquidity in the market, particularly also coming from not only the fiscal but also the fact that some actors have been excluded from the Open Market Operation (OMO).

“Committee felt that there will be a lot of liquidity in the market and there was need for the bank to do something to mop the excess liquidity to a level that it considers optimal to be able to run the economy, in a way that the level of excess liquidity does not become injurious to the economy.

“Committe increased the CRR to take the liquidity out”, he explained.

He further said that to retain the gains from the credit expansion and current industry focus on lending, Committee advised the bank to sustain its current loan to deposit ratio policy.

“Whereas we are trying to remove the excess liquidity, the CBN should continue to push on the loan to deposit ratio, to ensure that the economy can run in an optimal way. It will not constrain lending”, he remarked.

Emefiele added that the MPR would be maintained at its current rate due to the need to understand the growth trend of the year.

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