Stakeholders in the Nigerian economy have thrown their weight behind the choice of Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, as Daily Times Man of the Year 2015. Speaking at separate interviews with our correspondents in Lagos, experts in finance, investors in the economy and operators in the manufacturing sector of the economy lauded the performance of Emefiele as the CBN governor.
A notable banker who craved anonymity said Emefiele has been very professional in the conduct of his office and has been very apolitical and quiet about the way and manner he managed the banking activities of the Federal Government. In the same vein, Dr. Faruk Umar, National President of Association for the Advancement for the Rights of Nigerian Shareholders (AARNS), said there was need to commend Emefiele for the management of the foreign exchange and the concomitant ban of 41 items from access to foreign exchange as well as the limitation of the use of ATMs abroad.
He also said the CBN governor ought to be commended for sanitizing the bureau de change market. “My appeal to him is that he should allow people with genuine intention access to foreign exchange. There is also the need to give waivers to students who are schooling abroad to have access to foreign exchange,” Dr. Umar said. Also speaking on the development, Managing Director/CEO, Highcap Securities Ltd, Mr. David Adonri, noted: “The choice of CBN Governor as Daily Times Man of the Year is appropriate. He further stated: “Under him, CBN managed the economy creditably well during the extreme difficulties of 2014-2015. Their monetary policies aimed at boosting domestic production are praise-worthy.”
“I am not conversant with the activities of Heritage Bank, hence, cannot comment on their choice as Bank of the Year 2015,” he explained. In his reactions, Mr. Gbenga Idowu, coordinator, Shareholders United Front, SUF, said Emefiele is someone who strikes as effective personality. He said: “Emefiele was in control when Zenith Bank achieved great heights and he is also in control at the CBN. “He however did not impress me as someone who knows what he is doing when he appeared before the Senate recently on the issue of Systemspecs and the TSA. If not for this, he could have been fantastic”. Abimbolu Babatunde, Managing Director, Blend Tech, Ltd, also passed a vote of confidence on Emefiele as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). “Emefiele has done well so far.
There are so many variables based on the platform in which he is operating on now. Within the framework of Nigeria, there are lots of considerations that are not open to Nigerians. “A lot of things are not working in the country. Forces against economies all over the world are dynamic, and Nigeria is not peculiar. “The monetary management techniques implemented so far by the CBN Governor may not be the best, but they have yielded some positive results,” Babatunde said. The board of editors of the Daily Times recently chose Emefiele as its Man of the Year 2015 because of his laudable achievements as a governor of Central Bank of Nigeria. He was unanimously voted as the central banker of the year 2015 because of the tenacity with which he has managed the monetary policies of the Federal Government in the review year, even when there was no Federal Executive Council for about six months to work out fiscal policies as well as against the backdrop of falling prices of crude oil in the international market.
The failing price of crude oil has put enormous pressure on Nigeria’s foreign reserves and its ability to meet demand for foreign exchange by various stakeholders. Another major reason why he was voted for the coveted position is the professionalism that he has brought to the apex bank unlike his predecessor that was always have a brush with the executive arm of government and the National Assembly. In his maiden address on assumption of office on June 3, 2014, Emefiele did not leave anyone in doubt that he was committed to creating “a central bank that is professional, a central bank that is apolitical, and peoplefocused. A Central Bank that spends its energies on building a resilient financial system that can serve the growth and development needs of our beloved country, Nigeria.” He also used the opportunity to set his 10-point agenda. Under the agenda, he said the CBN would pursue a gradual reduction in interest rates, remarking that “high rates create preserved incentives for commercial banks to simply buy virtually risk-free government bonds rather than lend to real sector.”
Emefiele also said the bank would continue to maintain exchange rate stability in view of the high import dependent nature of the economy and also cautioned that a systematic depreciation of the naira may translate to considerable inflationary pressure with negative effect on macroeconomic stability. “Therefore, under my leadership, the bank will continue to focus on maintaining exchange rate stability and preserve the value of the domestic currency.” “We will sustain the managed float regime in the management of the exchange rate as this will allow the bank to intervene when necessary to offset pressure on the exchange rate.” Analysis of operation of the CBN since Emefiele assumed office has shown that he had lived up to major points in the agenda.