The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has unveiled the apex bank’s priorities for 2020 with support for greater economic growth, price stability and low inflation taking the lead.
Emefiele who spoke on Friday while delivering a keynote address titled: “Strong Sustainable growth for the Nigerian Economy” at the 54th Annual Bankers’ Dinner organized by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, CIBN, in Lagos, also hinted on the continued tight monetary policy stance of the Bank and the establishment of a Bankers’ Charitable Endowment Fund.
According to Emefiele, the Bankers’ Charitable Endowment Fund will fund a major charitable initiative every year starting from 2020.
It will also directly fund strategic social programmes in states and local communities across Nigeria.
Speaking on developments in the country’s economic and financial sector, over the past year, and how they affect the macro-economic outlook for 2020, the CBN Governor noted that in spite of the positive growth the economy experienced, growth had remained slow as a result of some structural constraints in the economy.
He posited that the pace of growth, given the nation’s growing population, exposed the economy to shocks, such as changes in the oil price, and sentiments in the global financial markets.
He however stressed that the CBN would continue its current tight stance, particularly in view of rising inflation expectations, as a way of supporting economic recovery and enabling stronger growth for the country’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
“Though we will act to appropriately adjust the policy rate in line with unfolding conditions and outlooks, the CBN will continue to ensure that the policy interest rate is delicately set to balance the objectives of price stability with output stabilisation,” he explained.
Reviewing the highlights of 2019, Emefiele recalled that the country’s GDP had remained positive, due to improvements in Agriculture, Oil and Gas, Manufacturing and ICT as well as the intervention programmes of the CBN and sustained supply of foreign exchange as well as stability of the naira.
On the country’s External Reserves, Emefiele said the Bank’s effort at supporting domestic production in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors among other policies, had continued to encourage foreign exchange inflows into the Nigerian market.
He said over $60 billion worth of transaction had taken place since the inception of the Investors’ and Exporters’ window in April 2017, adding that Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves were above $40bn as at October 2019, compared to $23bn in the same period in 2016.
Recalling the country’s economic glorious past when the economy was driven by agriculture, with increased cultivation and exports of primary products such as cocoa, palm oil, cotton and groundnut, Emefiele posited that it was possible to envision a productive Nigerian economy that was not dependent on exports of crude oil.
He therefore urged all stakeholders to believe in Nigeria’s greatness, stressing that the country was blessed with abundant human and natural resources, which if truly harnessed would propel Nigeria into one of the world’s top 20 economies.