The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele has again stressed the need for all Nigerians to face the reality that these are not normal times across the globe and therefore hard choices are required to turn the situation around.
He vowed to deploy appropriate monetary policy tools “to attain an inclusive growth by bolstering productive capacity and ensuring that Nigerian economy is indeed self-sufficient.”
The CBN Governor, while delivering a lecture to participants of the Senior Executive Course 38 at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies in Kuru, near Jos stated that “developments over the last two years show that these are not normal times by any stretch of imagination.”
He noted that “the CBN has always tried to act in good faith with the best available information and in cognizance of current economic conditions to pursue the goals of price and financial system stability as well as catalyze job creation and inclusive growth in the country.”
Emefiele, in the lecture titled, “Managing Monetary Policy in Turbulent Times”, stated that “when you have policies that people are praising, that means such policies are not really good, because the people praising the policies know that they can circumvent them. But if people criticise your policies, especially in Nigeria, such policies are good; the people criticise them because they know that they cannot circumvent them. ”
He, therefore, urged Nigerians to remain resolutely committed to the cause and be motivated by the achievability of the desire to strengthen the country’s economic fundamentals.
When prodded to give an insight on how soon the economy would recover from the current recession, the CBN Governor noted: “When we stop importing toothpicks, stop eating imported rice cultivated with chemical, stop eating chicken imported and preserved with formaldehyde, then our economy will begin to grow.”
Emefiele recalled that “20 years ago, we had textile, we had the groundnut pyramids, cocoa, with which the legendry Cocoa House was built, and palm oil. We also used revenue from agriculture to build our economy. But after we found oil, we abandoned all that for easy money. Today, we are suffering the consequences.”
According to him, with the size and structure of the country’s import bills, it was apparent that “we as a people cannot continue to depend on other countries for things that can easily be produced locally. By so doing, we are merely exporting jobs and importing poverty.”
“How do we justify the importation of items like eggs from South Africa, beef from Zambia and toothpick from China?” he queried.
He expressed worry that the country could not put its own institutions in order so as to avoid the huge amount being spent abroad, adding that the best Nigerian professionals were found abroad.
Emefiele disclosed that the country was making over $3 billion at the height of the oil boom, pointing out that it could hardly make $500 million now.