- Mixed Reactions as Buhari Nominates Emefiele as CBN Gov
Mixed reactions have greeted the reappointment of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele.
While some experts said the development was good for the banking sector, monetary policy and economic stability, others thought otherwise.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday wrote to the Senate to approve Emefiele’s reappointment as the CBN governor.
The President, in his letter to the Senate, sought legislative approval of a second tenure for Emefiele, whose current tenure expires on June 2, 2019.
The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, read Buhari’s letter to members at the plenary on Thursday.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Polaris Bank, Tokunbo Abiru, said, “The re-appointment of the CBN governor for another term of five years is a positive development for our economy.
“The economic outlook remains positive as this adds fillip to the continuity of current macro-economic policies initiated by Emefiele. The positive interventions in the agriculture, real sector and foreign exchange stability give confidence that the economy will continue to grow.”
The Chairman, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Abuja Chapter, Prof.Uche Uwaleke, described Emefiele’s appointment as a positive development for the Nigerian economy, saying stakeholders in the economy would have confidence in the consistency of the monetary policy.
He said, “Emefiele’s appointment is a good omen for the capital market. It is one development that speaks to policy consistency and will further consolidate macroeconomic stability, especially with respect to exchange rate and inflation.
“Investors, both domestic and foreign, can have some degree of confidence in the direction of monetary policy, which is positive for the capital market.
“One thing is now certain: That the interventions by the CBN in critical sectors of the economy, especially agriculture and non-agric based SMEs will continue.
“These will rub off positively on economic recovery efforts, especially now that the CBN under Emefiele has signalled an accommodative monetary policy stance. It is equally positive for financial systems stability. So, I expect a positive reaction.”
The Registrar, Institute of Finance and Control of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Eohoi, said as one of the major actors who worked towards taking Nigeria out of recession, the apex bank boss understood what would be needed to consolidate the growth trajectory.
He also said there was a need for the apex bank boss to ensure the reduction of interest rate is to make the cost of funds cheaper for businesses.
He said, “There is a need for the intensification and effective monitoring of the interventions, in particular, the Anchor Borrower Programme.
“Emefiele should also focus on ensuring increased access to credit by SMEs and generally fostering a low-interest rate environment with the support of fiscal authorities,
“He should focus more on intervention programmes in the agricultural sector, textile and other economic stimulating and job creation sectors.”
A former President, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, Dr Sam Nzekwe, said, “It is a good development because, given the way he has worked for five years, I think he is a competent man. He has made sure that he has so far stabilised the exchange rate; he has managed the monetary authority very well given the kind of very difficult economy we have.
“I think he has done very well. He performed above average. I think it is a good thing to give him a second chance.”
The Chairman, TAF, Debo Ajayi, who is also an economist, said he had not really considered the governor to have performed well.
He also described some of the actions of the CBN as confusing because he got involved in fiscal policies instead of focusing on monetary policies, which was his key role.
Ajayi said, “Maybe things could have been worse than it actually is but also, I really do not see the CBN managing the economy very well, and yet, the exchange rate seems to have stabilised, but it is still not where it ought to be in terms of the valuation of the naira.
“So, I have not seen any major initiative from the CBN, but evidently, his boss may be looking at it from an angle we are not looking at it from that is making him to recommend him. However, from this side, I don’t see the governor to have done an exceptional job for which he is being recommended for another five years.
“But I do commend them from time to time for some of the initiatives. For instance, the recent one on access to credit in the creative industry is a fantastic one, better late than never. We see some initiatives sometimes like in the area of agriculture, but we have not seen these translate to tangible impact on the masses.”
A professor of Economics at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Sheriffdeen Tella, said President Muhammadu Buhari re-appointed Emefiele because he felt that he had been able to maintain stable exchange rate and ensured that the inflation rate did not go haywire.
The don, who, however, expressed reservations about the CBN’s direct intervention in the agricultural and the real sectors, added that Emefiele must have earned his re-appointment having been able to help the Buhari’s administration to stabilise the nation’s monetary policy, as it had envisaged it to be.
He said, “I think the President re-appointed him because he is happy with what he has done in the monetary sector. He has stabilised the foreign exchange rate and managed the inflation rate. These must have fallen in line with the President’s policy, but I don’t believe the CBN should be directly involved in giving loans to farmers and those in the real sector of the economy.”
COVID-19: CBN Has Disbursed N83B Loans to Healthcare Sector
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, yesterday, said the central bank had disbursed over N83.9 billion to pharmaceutical and healthcare practitioners in the country since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Also, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has stressed the need for a slash in the cost of governance in the country, saying a lot more resources could be dedicated towards healthcare and critical infrastructure.
They both said this yesterday, at the premiere of ‘Unmasked’, a documentary on Nigeria’s response to the pandemic held in Lagos.
Emefiele, who was represented by the CBN’s Director of Corporate Communications, Osita Nwasinobi, explained: “Building a robust healthcare infrastructure was also vital from a security perspective, as some nations had imposed restrictions on the exports of vital medical drugs as well as the use of drug patents that could aid in containing the spread of the pandemic.
“As a result, we focused our interventions in the healthcare sector on three areas. Building the capacity of our healthcare institutions supporting the domestic manufacturing of drugs by businesses, and providing grants to researchers in the medical field, in order to encourage them to develop breakthrough innovations that would address health challenges faced by Nigerians.
“In this regard, we disbursed over N83.9 billion in loans to pharmaceutical companies and healthcare practitioners, which is supporting 26 pharmaceutical and 56 medical projects across the country. We were also able to mobilise key stakeholders in the Nigerian economy through the CACOVID alliance, which led to the provision of over N25 billion in relief materials to affected households, and the set-up of 39 isolation centres across the country. These measures helped to expand and strengthen the capacity of our healthcare institutions to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
According to the CBN Governor, the banking sector regulator also initiated the Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention Grant Scheme, which was to aid research on solutions that could address diseases such as COVID-19, and other communicable/non-communicable diseases.
He said so far, five major healthcare-related research projects were being financed under the initiative.
Speaking further on the call to increase access to health insurance, Emefiele said: “One key aspect which we would have to address is improving access to healthcare for all Nigerians. A key factor that has impeded access to healthcare for Nigerians is the prevailing cost of healthcare services.
“According to a study by World Health Organisation (WHO), only four percent of Nigerians have access to health insurance. Besides food, healthcare expenses are a significant component of average Nigeria’s personal expenditure.
“Out of pocket expenses on healthcare amount to close to 76 percent of total healthcare expenditure. At such levels of health spending, individuals particularly those in rural communities may be denied access to healthcare services.
“Expanding the insurance net to capture the pool of Nigerians not covered by existing health insurance schemes, could help to reduce the high out of pocket expenses on healthcare services by Nigerians. It will also help to increase the pool of funds that could be invested in building our healthcare infrastructure and in improving the existing welfare package of our healthcare workers.”
“The private sector has a significant role to play in this regard given the decline in government revenues as occasioned by the drop in commodity prices. Leveraging innovative solutions that can provide insurance services at relatively cheap prices could significantly help to improve access to healthcare for a large proportion of Nigerians particularly those in our rural communities.”
According to Emefiele, the CBN remains committed to working with all stakeholders in improving access to finance and credit that would support the development of viable healthcare infrastructure in our country.
On his part, Sanwo-Olu said: “What are the lessons that we have learned with the Covid-19? Looking at all the things that Covid-19 has cost us, how are we preparing ourselves?
“The truth be told the structure of our governance system needs to change particularly the cost of governance. We need to speak up and ask ourselves are we ready to change.”
“When it gets to the election it is the same set of people that will come up and people don’t come out to vote and we end up having 20 percent out of 100 percent that will elect those that will govern. So, the change has to be about all of us. That is how the real change that will help us will come,” he added.
Emefiele Says CBN Will Resist All Attempts to Continue Maize Importation
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has vowed to resist all attempts to continue the importation of maize into the country.
Godwin Emefiele, the governor, CBN, in a statement titled ‘Emefiele woos youths to embrace agriculture’, said: “the CBN would resist attempts by those who seek to continually import maize into the country.”
Emefiele, who spoke in Katsina during the unveiling of the first maize pyramid and inauguration of the 2021 maize wet season farming under the CBN-Maize Association of Nigeria Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, said maize farmers in the country had what it takes to meet the maize demand gap of over 4.5 million metric tonnes in the country.
“With over 50,000 bags of maize available on this ground, and others aggregated across the country, maize farmers are sending a resounding message that we can grow enough maize to meet the country’s demand,” Emefiele said.
He explained that the maize unveiled at the ceremony would be sold to reputable feed processors.
He added that this would in turn impact positively on current poultry feed prices, as over 60 per cent of maize produced in the country were used for producing poultry feed.
Nigeria’s Spending Structure Unsustainable, Budget Head Says
Nigeria’s current trend of spending more money on running the government than on building new infrastructure is unsustainable, the country’s top budget oversight official said.
Low revenue collection and high recurrent costs have resulted in actual capital expenditure below two trillion naira ($4.88 billion) a year for a decade, Ben Akabueze, director-general of the Budget Office, said Tuesday in a virtual presentation.
“Hence, the investments required to bridge the infrastructure gap are way beyond the means available to the government,” Akabueze said. Recurrent spending, allocated towards salaries and running costs, has accounted for more than 75% of the public budget every year since 2011, he said.
Africa’s largest economy requires at least $3 trillion of spending over the next 30 years to close its infrastructure gap, Moody’s Investors Service said in November. The country’s tax revenue as a proportion of gross domestic product is one of the lowest globally, according to the International Monetary Fund.
“Huge recurrent expenditure has constrained the provision of good roads, steady power supply, health care services, quality education and quality shelter,” Akabueze said.
Nigeria should amend its constitution to create six regions to replace the existing 36 states, which each have their own governments, Akabueze said. The country also needs to reduce the number of cabinet ministers to a maximum of 24 from more than 40 and cut federal ministries to fewer than 20 from the current 27, he said.
“No country can develop where a large part of its earnings is spent on administrative structures rather than on capital investment,” Akabueze said.
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