Godwin Emefiele, Central Bank of Nigeria Governor

Emefiele says the economy remains strong

The economy remains strong with all indices moving in the right direction, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele said yesterday. He allayed the fears of Nigerians and the international community over the inability to hold the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting scheduled for today and tomorrow.

The meeting could not hold due to the non-confirmation of the MPC nominees by the Senate. With the expiration of the tenure of some members, the MPC cannot form a quorum.

In a personally signed statement,  Emefiele explained that the MPC meeting won’t hold as a result of lack of quorum as stipulated in the CBN Act 2007. Emefiele said the CBN would continue to maintain the key monetary variables as decided in the last MPC meeting of November 2017, which was to hold Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 14 per cent, Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 22.5 per cent, liquidity ratio at 30 per cent and the asymmetric corridor at +200 and -500 basis points around the MPR.

He cited the recovery in oil prices and boost in domestic production, Nigeria’s exit from recession in 2017, decline in inflation rate to 15.37 per cent, and accretion to the country’s foreign exchange reserves, which now stands at $40.78 billion, as positive indicators, stressing that these underscored the fact that the Nigerian economy remained strong.

He noted that strong investor confidence in Nigeria had attracted inflows of about $13 billion through the Investors’ and Exporters’ (I&E) window, opened by the CBN in 2017. According to him, these inflows have boosted foreign exchange supply and helped to stabilise the exchange rate.

“We have also seen market capitalization of our Stock Exchange improve by 22.3 per cent from N13.21 trillion on November 30, 2017 to N16.15 trillion as at 19 January 2018, while the All-Share Index (ASI) rose by 18.8 per cent from 37,944.60 to 45,092.83 over the same period,” he added.

Emefiele assured that a revised schedule of the Meetings for the MPC would be communicated as soon as the Bank meets the statutory requirements of membership and quorum for the MPC.

He also assured that the CBN Management would continue to sustain the gains recorded in the economy and as its vigilance and proactivity to ensure overall macro-economic stability throughout 2018.

Last October, President, Muhammadu Buhari nominated Mrs. Aisha Ahmad as CBN Deputy Governor. He also sought the confirmation of Adeola Festus Adenikinju, Aliyu Rafindadi Sanusi, Robert Chikwendu Asogwa, and Asheikh Maidugu as members of the CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee. Up till now, they have not been confirmed by the senate.

The Second Schedule of the CBN Act (Section 12(5) and 54, stipulates that the MPC shall meet at least four times in a year and the quorum shall be six members, two of who shall be the Governor and a Deputy Governor or two Deputy Governors.