By Etuka Sunday
The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has taken his message of economic patriotism to the University of Benin, where he urged actors in the public and private sectors to look inwards in developing the Nigerian economy.
Mr. Emefiele gave the charge while delivering the third in the university’s series of Eminent Persons’ Lecture, charging all Nigerians to think of what they could do to improve the fortunes of the Nigerian economy, rather than what they could benefit from the economy.
In his lecture titled: “Beyond the Global Financial Crisis: Monetary Policy under Global Uncertainty”, Emefiele noted that there was much potential within the Nigerian economy to make it as developed as other countries, which were its peers at independence but had gone ahead to become more developed.
The CBN Governor, who noted that the lecture was part of the Bank’s efforts at promoting research and collaboration with Universities, towards developing policies and programmes that will enhance the economic well-being of all Nigerians, highlighted how the crisis had helped to reshape monetary policy tools used by Central Banks to address dips in their economies.
Giving an overview of how central banks across different economic blocs responded to the global financial crisis, he noted that while the impact of the global financial crisis had little effect on the Nigerian economy, the drop-in commodity prices between 2014 – 2016, brought to the fore the limitation of conventional monetary policy tools.
According to him, “the 60 percent drop in crude oil prices between 2014 – 2016 along with normalization of Monetary Policy by the United States Federal Reserve Bank in 2014, imposed severe constraints on the Nigerian economy, given our reliance on crude oil for over 90 percent of our export earnings and 60 percent of government revenue.”
He explained that the CBN and the fiscal authorities, in an effort to contain the crisis, decided to deploy both conventional and unconventional tools in a bid to support continued growth of the economy. This is even as he noted that a simple focus on the Monetary Policy Rate would not have been sufficient to get the Nigerian economy out of the recession.
Speaking further, he said the CBN, in employing unconventional monetary policy measures, decided to intervene in critical sectors of the economy, such as agriculture and manufacturing, in order to promote growth in the economy and boost employment opportunities as pressures well as address the stability of the financial system and provide support against external pressures.
He reiterated the need to promote sustainable growth through the increase of policy buffers and a further diversification of the Nigerian economy away from oil, to other non-oil produce. He equally stressed the need for huge investment in infrastructure in order to enhance economic growth and provide cheap financing to boost the local production of priority goods in critical sectors of the Nigerian economy in order to reduce reliance on foreign imports.
Mr. Emefiele, who will commence his second and final term as CBN Governor in June 2019, pledged that the Bank will continue to take a proactive approach in easing the likely adverse effects that may emanate from external pressures. He said the Bank will promote policies that will enhance domestic production of goods that can be produced in Nigeria along with measures that improve the stability of the financial system.
Furthermore, he stressed the need for increased coordination between fiscal and monetary policies in deploying measures that will support economic growth and reduce unemployment.