INTERVIEW: We Inherited A Tight Monetary Policy Environment – CBN Governor

Mr Godwin Emefiele

The announcement of Godwin Emefiele in February 2014 as the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to replace Lamido Sanusi, the then head, was met with a number of criticisms. In this interview, Emefiele reveals the financial environment during the transition between 2014 and 2015.

Q: What was your recap of the fiscal monetary financial system environment that you inherited in June 2014 when you took office?

We have always used the opportunity of the Monetary Policy Committee meetings that happen every other month to provide perspectives about what we are doing at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Monetary policy Committees’ perspectives and views about macroeconomic situations in the country and that we have done that consistently.

For five straight years, between the year 2009 and 2014, we had crude price averaging about $120 per barrel. Indeed by September 2008, the country’s reserve stood at $62billion. Those were period we had a lot of bumper, inflation, worse loan. At that point, it was possible for CBN to fix an inflation targeting policy between six and nine per cent, to the point that by April 2014, shortly before we assumed office, inflation was 7.9% which was about the six-year loan.

Reserves as a result of the pressures we saw between 2008-2009, had come down to about $37billion. Interest rate even at that time was also relatively stable because inflation rate was also good.

During that time as well, the monetary policy environment was tight because CRR was about 15%. NPR was about 12% . It was essentially a tight monetary policy environment that we inherited. At that time, the global shock had started to show signs of manifestation to the point that at the third quarter of 2014 it had become so manifest.

Q: Few months when you were just settling into office, there was change in political administration, so there was a change of leadership in the country. What were the key issues for you then, looking at the political landscape and the change of governance? What were the key issues you took on board?  

Nothing extraordinary, in the sense that the CBN is an independent institution, focusing primarily on its own core mandate, monetary policy and then making sure that the monetary macroeconomic environment remained stable. Unfortunately, at that time, the effect of the global shock had began to manifest. By August 2014, the crude commodity price was about $110 to a barrel and our reserve was about 37, dropping to 36. So, by the time the government came in May 2015, reserve had come down to 29.

The environment had began to face some forms of pressures. Pressures from drop in commodity prices which resulted in drop in crude prices, impacting adversely on our reserves. Geo-political tensions along the trigger routes across the world. Then we had the Russia, Ukraine crisis, even till now, we seeing geopolitical tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. All these have some effect on the flow of capital between emerging and the developed economies.

Buhari Seeks Confirmation Of Deputy CBN Governor

The President, Muhammadu Buhari, has written to the Senate seeking the confirmation of the nominee of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Deputy Governor, Aisha Ahmad.

President Buhari on October 5, 2017 appointed Mrs Aishah Ahmad as the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, subject to Senate Confirmation.

This was announced in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

The statement also adds that Mrs Ahmad is expected to resume immediately her appointment is confirmed by the Senate, replacing a CBN governor who retired earlier this year.

The President who has forwarded her name to the Senate called for speedy completion of the confirmation process.

“In accordance with the provisions of Section 8(1) (2) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (Establishment) Act 2007, President Buhari urged the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, to consider the expeditious confirmation of Mrs Ahmad, who would then resume work immediately,” the statement read in part.

FG Asks CBN To Extend BVN To Microfinance Banks

FG Asks CBN To Extend BVN To Microfinance BanksThe Federal Government has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend the requirement for the Bank Verification Number (BVN) to account holders in microfinance banks.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, stated this in a letter to the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele.

She explained that this would help to identify bank accounts which might have been opened and operated for ghost workers by fraudulent syndicates.

The use of BVN for bank transactions is only limited to account holders in the deposit money banks.

The CBN had in September 2016 announced plans to extend the BVN exercise to the microfinance banking sector.

However, the apex bank is yet to implement the extension.

NCC, CBN Get Reprieve For Etisalat

NCC, CBN Get Reprieve For EtisalatThe Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have succeeded in halting an attempt by Etisalat’s creditors to take over the company.

A statement by the spokesman for NCC, Tony Ojobo, said reprieve came for the mobile network operator during a meeting held on Friday.

According to the statement, receivership was completely taken off the table in a meeting that was very productive and constructive.

“The meeting, which held at the CBN Office in Lagos, had the consortium of banks being owed and Etisalat in attendance. The banks and the mobile network operator agreed to concrete actions that will bring all parties closest to a resolution.

“The CBN and NCC were able to secure for Etisalat the necessary oxygen to enable it continue to meet urgent operational expenses.

“CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, who chaired the meeting, was firm in declaring what needed to be done by both parties towards a quick resolution. The NCC equally made it clear that everything necessary must be done to protect the 23 million Etisalat subscribers and also protect the telecom industry to prevent potential investors from developing cold feet.

“Meanwhile, in a renewed effort to ensure that Etisalat remains in business while the consortium of banks meet their obligations to their customers, a meeting will hold on March 16 to agree on a payment restructuring path going forward.

“The NCC will lead the CBN in a possible crucial meeting with Etisalat’s shareholders anytime soon,” the statement read.

Police Arrest Runaway Mastermind Of CBN Governor’s Wife’s Kidnap

Police Arrest Runaway Mastermind Of CBN Governor's Wife's KidnapThe Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) has arrested one Umar Abubakar identified as the 10th gang member in the kidnap saga of the CBN Governor’s wife, Mrs Margaret Emefiele in September 2016.

According to a Police statement, Umar Abubakar aka Kiriwa was trailed and arrested in Minna, Niger State on December 9, 2016 “consequent upon several weeks of monitoring and actionable intelligence gathering coupled with collaborative efforts of public spirited members of the community”.

“Umar Abubakar, one of the arrow heads of the dare devil kidnapping gang led detectives to two (2) houses and three plots of empty land he purchased with the proceeds of his share of the ransom.

“The arrested kingpin confessed that he used three million naira (N3m), part of the ransom, to open a provision shop in Minna, Niger State which he was running with his wife.

“The original papers of the houses and plots of land have been recovered and registered as exhibits and the shop also sealed,” the Police stated.

The Police promised that with the assistance and the support of the people, it would ensure that no crime committed will go undetected and perpetrators apprehended for justice and closure to prevail in the court of law.

The Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim K. Idris, reassured members of the public of the readiness of the Police under his leadership to deliver dedicated and quality policing services.

He further urged all citizens to be vigilant, provide useful information and report suspicious movements and activities to the Police for prompt response.

Nine suspects linked to the kidnap of the wife of the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mrs Margaret Emefiele, were paraded in the nation’s capital Abuja in October.

Those paraded were two serving and one dismissed soldier, Lance Corporal Musa Maidabra, Lance Corporal Edwin George, and Anthony Uduefe.

The others are Mohammed Abubakar, who was said to be the gang leader, Mohammed Musa, Mohammed Sule, Ibrahim Abdullahi, Aliyu Musa and Mohammed Yusuf.

The Police, in a statement, revealed that over 14-million-naira cash, three vehicles and one AK-47 magazine and two cartridges were recovered from the suspects.

Mrs Emiefele and three of her aides were kidnapped on September 29 at Oquneki hills along Benin-Agbor road, in Delta state, but were all rescued the following day unhurt.

The kidnappers had demanded for the sum of 100 million naira ransom.

FG, CBN Restates Commitment To Boost Rice Production To End Importation

Audu-Ogbeh-Bank-Of-AgricultureThe Federal Government is set to support the Niger state government with irrigation equipment, to enabled its rice farmers in the production of one million metric tons of rice by the end of this year’s dry season farming.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogheh made this known at Sachi village, Lavun Local Government of Niger state in an inspection tour of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Program of States. He added that so far about 2 billion Naira has been spent through the scheme in the state.

He said that over 2,000 farmers from 57 cooperatives had so far benefited from the program in Niger State, hence 1,700 are preparing for this dry season farming and 907 cotton farmers are to benefit from the CBN programme.

The Minister informed that soon Nigeria will be able to feed the nation with rice produce and export, just as the provision of irrigation facilities to increase output  includes: solar power water pumping machines, small rice milling facilities, thrashers and combine harvesters to ease the processing of rice produce to boost their economy.

The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele in his remarks applauded the Niger State Government and the cooperatives for their zeal for the 30,000 hectres of land for the programme.

He noted that 2 billion Naira had been disbursed for 14,000 farmers in the state so far under the program.

He assured of speedy process of the scheme by considering the comparative advantage of Niger State in rice production, adding that the state is in competition with Kebbi state.

Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State at the event expressed the determination of the state government in assisting farmers to improved production while awaiting the promised rice mills so as to take off immediately.

Governor Bello stressed the need for a template on the technical specifications from the committee, assured of 90,000 square kilometers awaiting for cultivation hence other senatorial zones of the state to be taken in to consideration.

He expressed satisfaction over the support from CBN and Federal government as this has created jobs for the youths in the area, while calling for the support in the area of irrigation system to ease dry season farming in the state.

Meanwhile, the Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Atiku Badugu appreciated the effort of President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring sustainable dry season farming in the country and actualizing the feeding of Nigerians.

The leader of the Anchor Scheme Cooperatives, Ahmed Muhammadu expressed happiness over the CBN program but said that they were challenged with lack of irrigation equipment which if not provided, would hinder the actualization of the dry season farming in the area.

Police Parade Suspected Kidnappers Of CBN Governor’s Wife

Police parade, Police ARREST, 419 syndicate, Police Arrest Kidnappers In KanoNine suspects linked to the kidnap of the wife of the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mrs Margret Emefiele, have been paraded in the nation’s capital Abuja.

Those paraded in connection with the crime are two serving and one dismissed soldiers, Lance Corporal Musa Maidabra, Lance Corporal Edwin George, and Anthony Uduefe.

The others are Mohammed Abubakar, who is said to be the gang leader, Mohammed Musa, Mohammed Sule, Ibrahim Abdullahi, Aliyu Musa and Mohammed Yusuf.

The Police, in a statement, revealed that over 14-million-naira cash, three vehicles and one AK-47 magazine and two cartridges were recovered from the suspects.

Mrs Emiefele and three of her aides were kidnapped on September 29 at Oquneki hills along Benin-Agbor road, in Delta state, but were all rescued the following day unhurt.

The kidnappers had demanded for the sum of 100 million naira ransom before they were smashed by the Police at 1.30 am by the Police while combing the forest around Agbor.

Police Rescue Emefiele’s Wife, Arrest Suspects

CBN Governor, Emefiele, Police RescueThe Police have arrested two suspects over their alleged link with the kidnap of Mrs Margret Emefiele, the wife on Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele.

Mrs Emefiele kidnapped on Thursday at the Edo state end of the Agbor-Benin expressway, alongside two of her relatives and her driver.

The kidnappers had demanded for the sum of 100 million naira ransom before they were smashed by the Police at 1.30 am by the Police while combing the forest around Agbor.

El-Rufai Flags Off Construction Of Potato Factory In Kaduna

Kaduna, Nasir El-Rufai, Potato Factory Kaduna State Governor, Mr Nasir El-Rufai, has flagged off the construction of a Potato Farm and Processing factory worth $120 million, in line with his administration’s economic diversification programme.

The factory, said to be the first of its kind in West Africa, is expected to be completed in the next 18 months. It is located at Manchok in Kaura Local Government Area of the state in northwest Nigeria.

The proposed factory is being constructed in partnership with Vicampro International, an agro-based company with branches in several countries.

At the ground breaking ceremony for the proposed factory on Saturday, Governor El-Rufai said the processing facility would earn foreign exchange and reduce over-dependence on oil.

He stated further that the state government was committed to promoting agricultural practices to fast track development, diversify the economy and boost Internally Generated Revenue.

Reduction Of Poverty

The Governor appealed to the host community to support and cooperate with Vicampro, in order to pave way for the attainment of its mission.


He expressed the belief that the return of vibrant economic activities and the reduction of poverty among the populace would drive prosperity and reduce the divisions that became pronounced as the state’s economy entered dire straits from the late 1980s.

In his remarks, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, spoke on the issue of access to finance, which he said remained a major challenge of most investors.

He pledged that the issue was being addressed to ensure that investors with viable ideas were given the necessary support.

Need For Diversification

The CBN Governor, who said the drop in oil prices had affected Nigeria’s economy drastically, suggested further diversification as the only alternative to overcome the economic crisis.

He assured the people that the CBN would collaborate with the Kaduna State government to translate the idea to reality for the benefit of all.

On her part, the Minister of State of Trade and Investment, Mrs Aisha Abubakar, described the development as a giant stride towards moving the nation’s economy forward.

Giving the details of the project, the Executive Secretary of Kaduna State Investment Promotion Agency (KADIPA), Gambo Hamza, explained that to successfully run the plant, the factory would need about 10,000 hectares of land for potato cultivation.

He added that upon completion, the factory would have the capacity to process 2,500 tonnes of potatoes daily and create at least 30,000 jobs.

In his remark, the Managing Director of Vicampro, Michael Agbogbo, said the company would produce French fries, Irish flakes and biscuits for local and international consumption.

The residents of Manchok on their part, lauded the investment and expressed hopes that it would improve their community’s economy and provide jobs for them.

MPC Leaves All Rates Unchanged

Godwin-Emefiele-Governor-of-Central-Bank-NigeriaThe Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has retained all key indicators.

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, on Tuesday read the communique announcing decisions reached at its September meeting in the nation’s capital, Abuja.

The committee agreed to keep the Monetary Policy Rate at 14 per cent, the Cash Reserve Ratio at 22.50 per cent and the Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent.

Mr Emefiele explained that while challenges in the economy remain, monetary policy alone cannot boost growth. “Cutting interest rates is not advisable and the current stance will help to limit inflation,” he said.

“The committee assessed the relevant risks and concluded that the economy continued to face elevated risks on both price and output fronts.

“However, given its primary mandate and considering its limitations of its instruments with respect to output, the committee elected to retain the restrictive stance of policy invoked at its last meeting where it raised the Monetary Policy Rate from 12 to 14 per cent.

MPC-LEAVES-RATES-UNCHANGED

“Conscious of the need to allow this and other measures like the foreign exchange reforms to work truthfully, it decided to retain all monetary policy instrument at their current levels,” the apex bank boss stated.

He said that all 10 Monetary Policy Committee members voted to retain the MPR at 14 per cent, retain the CRR at 22.5 per cent, retain the Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent and retain the asymmetric window at +200 and -500 basis points around the MPR.

The Minister of Finance had expected that the committee would lower key interest rates.

Kemi adeosun, recession, Finance Minister, CBN

Speaking on Channels Television earlier in the day, Mrs Kemi Adeosun said that this would help stimulate the economy, especially as the government plans to boost the economy without increasing debt servicing costs.

At the last committee meeting in July, the benchmark Monetary Policy Rate was raised from 12 per cent, to 14 per cent, while the Cash Reserve Ratio and Liquidity Ratio were both retained, at 22.50 per cent and 30 per cent each.

Nigeria is currently in a recession after official data from the National Bureau of Statistic showed that its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by 2.06 percent in the second quarter, sending Africa’s biggest economy into a recession after a decline in the first quarter.

MPC Meeting Begins In Abuja

MPC Meeting, MPC, CBN, Anchor Borrowers Scheme, 683 FarmersThe Central Bank of Nigeria’s Monetary Policy Committee 2-day rate setting meeting begins on Monday in the nation’s capital city, Abuja.

It is the most anticipated meeting as it comes at a time the country is deep in recession following disappointing data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

The committee is expected to focus on the state of the Nigerian economy, and decide on key monetary policy parameters.

When the committee held its last meeting in July, headline inflation was at 16.5 percent but that has since increased to 17.6 percent in August.

In the light of severe and growing macroeconomic headwinds, the committee would once again be required to make tough decisions amidst limited policy options.

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele is expected to announce the outcome of the meeting on Tuesday, September 20.

Nigeria’s Economy Should Be Built To Adapt To Current Trends – Osinbajo

Yemi Osinbajo on NigeriaNigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, says there is need to ensure that the economy of the nation is built to adapt to the physical, social and technological trends of the present generation.

Professor Osinbajo made the statement on Friday during a two-day economic and investment summit in Delta State, south-south Nigeria.

He further stressed the need for Nigerian leaders to build relationships based on trust with the citizenry.

“Truth on the part of a leader, plays a critical role in the development and prosperity of Nigeria,” he stated.

The summit was organised by the Delta State government, as part of the activities to mark the 25th anniversary since Delta State was created.

Speaking to delegates at the event, the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, emphasised the need to build a strong, robust and resilient economy.

Present at the summit are the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun and a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Professor Charles Soludo among others.