President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to reappoint Godwin Emefiele as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria is a masterstroke that will further stabilise the economy.
According to the Buhari Media Organisation, the manner the stock markets and analysts responded positively to the news of a second five-year term for the CBN governor is an indication of the correctness of the decision.
BMO said in a statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju, and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke, that the positive comments that trailed the decision showed that the President did not make a mistake in extending Emefiele’s tenure at Nigeria’s apex monetary authority.
It said: “President Buhari came into office about a year into Emefiele’s tenure as CBN Governor, and though he could have found a reason to ease him out of office after inheriting an economy that was near comatose, he gave the former Group Managing Director of Zenith Bank the opportunity to prove himself.
“And as if the leash that was holding him back was removed when the All Progressives Congress (APC) came on board in 2015, the CBN Governor spear-headed a number of initiatives to put the country on a path of sustainable economic growth after it momentarily slipped into economic recession.
“So by handing Emefiele a second term, the President has shown that what matters to him is performance, not ethnic or religious consideration, contrary to the picture that opposition elements had painted to undiscerning Nigerians over the years, and also in the run-up to the 2019 elections.
“We are not surprised at the deluge of commendations from respected economists and financial analysts because we know President Buhari as an individual that considers capacity to perform and that is why he takes his time before taking decisions.”
On what Emefiele did to deserve reappointment, the pro-Buhari group pointed at the success story of the Anchors Borrowers Programme as one of the CBN’s major milestones under his watch.
This, it said, paved the way for the agricultural revolution that has since led to the reduction in rice import and has put Nigeria on the path of self-sustenance in rice production.
The group added: “After years of almost total dependence on imported rice from Thailand, the country now has hundreds of thousands of rice farmers who have benefitted from CBN support in terms of cash and farm inputs.
“At the last count, the programme has since 2015 disbursed N174.4 billion to 902,518 farmers through 19 financial institutions and has created 2.8 million and 8.4 million direct and indirect jobs respectively.
“The CBN also introduced the Real Sector Support fund; a facility meant to provide cheap funding at not more than nine per cent interest rate to new projects in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
“And like many analysts, we acknowledge that the Bank’s decision to stop importers of 41 items from having access to foreign currencies went a long way in shoring up the value of the Naira at a time the currency was threatening to go as high as N700 to a dollar. Also, the country’s foreign reserve under Emefiele’s watch has risen progressively, compared to the pre-Buhari era when it was on a regular decline.
“We at BMO recognise that the Bank’s monetary policies have also ensured that inflation has been relatively tamed and we dare say that now that it is down to 11.25% as at March 2019, and 11.23 projected for April, Nigeria could have a single digit inflation rate in a matter of months.”
The group expressed the hope that Emefiele would repay Buhari’s good gesture by doing far more than he has done in the last five years.