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Emefiele@60: Expert extols CBN governor’s virtues, economic drive

Godwin Emefiele, Buhari

Motolani Oseni

A renowned financial expert and the Managing Consultant, BIC Consultancy Services, Dr Boniface Chizea, has extolled the good qualities of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, for his persistent commitment to the economic growth and development of Nigeria’s economy.

In his tribute to the hard-working CBN governor, as he celebrated his 60th birthday on Wednesday, August 4, 2021, Dr. Chizea said: “The fact remained that from the period you assumed office, the oil market which is the goose that lays the golden egg for Nigeria as far as the inflow of foreign exchange is concerned went soft as price went southwards.”

A copy of the tribute which was obtained by The Daily Times stated: “This is in stark contrast to the situation during the tenure of your immediate predecessor.

Therefore, it was a battle stabilizing the exchange rate.

To make matters worse, most Nigerians on the sidelines are all professional “economists” who always feel they know better than any other person and are prepared to pontificate what they think should be the preferred policy response, and if you do not follow their cue, you are dubbed as clueless.

But you did not hide your intentions regarding your stand on how the rate of exchange will be managed under your watch.

“You made it clear; I recall in your maiden press release that you do not believe in currency devaluation.

As you rationalized, devaluation as a policy makes sense only in the context of export promotion strategy.

Otherwise one ends up importing price increases leading to a spike in inflationary pressure and galloping prices which is detrimental to the well-being of the generality of the population. Fortunately, President Buhari shared your views and it was, therefore, easier for you to stand your ground.

“My Governor, we must commend you for courageously banning the extension of foreign exchange for the importation of over 43 items.

Today, I must admit that the country is better for it as import bills have come crashing down.

“The struggle with managing the rate of exchange as should be expected remains a work in progress as you have only recently courageously refused to continue to extend official foreign exchange to Bureau de Change Operators that have constituted themselves as channels for the draining of foreign exchange supply as they have kicked aside from their original mandate of playing at the retail end of the market, thereby, becoming big time players, competing with the banks and also turning themselves into channels for the movement of illegal funds and money laundering in the economy.

“But my Governor, you have scored the bull’s eye with your efforts at extending development finance to deserving sectors of the economy. Of course, the nay Sayers has been at it, saying you have left the mandate of the Central Bank to push other matters.

But your mandate is clear on this matter and you are very much on course. You have done quite a lot in this regard, even the blind can see.”

On Emefiele’s two sterling policies that have made him exceptional in his position as the helmsman at the apex bank, Chizea said: “As far as I am concerned, two issues exemplify your efforts in this regard; the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) that has made the country self-sufficient in rice with other items on the queue and your efforts as Nigeria confronted the pandemic.

“Without the contribution of the Central Bank, Nigeria economy would have been in shambles.

When the fiscal authorities launched the Economic Sustainability Plan, but for the loan you extended it could have been a different ball game.

You also ensured that the stability of the financial system was not endangered by extending various accommodations to the banks.

“Not too long ago, INFRACO Company meant to enlist private capital for the urgent improvement on available infrastructure in the economy was officially launched by the President signing off on it and appointing key players.

I am on record to have observed objectively that if we are looking for one institution that has been accountable for the country’s quick exit from the pandemic to resume growth, that it must be the Central Bank under your watch”.

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