Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Naira Fluctuated, Depreciated Over Sanusi's Suspension - Okonjo-Iweala

Photo: Leadership
Lamido Sanusi

Lagos — Operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS) yesterday seized the travelling documents of the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

This came as Dr. Okonjo-Iweala admitted fluctuations and slight depreciation of the Naira following the break of the news of Sanusi's removal but expressed optimism that the market should normalize after her assurances.

Mallam Sanusi who arrived Lagos from Niger Republic, where he had gone to attend a meeting of governors of central banks in the West African sub-region was accosted by plain clothed operatives of DSS who detained him briefly and insisted that he must surrender his passport to them.

They also insisted that he would not be allowed to leave the airport until the Lagos State director of the DSS arrived.

However, after communicating with their superior, the DSS officials allowed the CBN Governor to leave but only after his passport had been confiscated.

Upon arrival in Lagos, Mallam Mr. Sanusi's associates and friends, led by a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir El-Rufai, were on ground to receive him at the airport.

They drove out of the airport in a convoy heading towards Ikoyi. A member of the delegation said Mr. Sanusi was heading to a friend's place to relax.

Okonjo-Iweala assures on policies

The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday assured that the removal of Mallam Sanusi would not adversely affect the stability of the nation's economy as the President Goodluck Jonathan administration would continue its tight fiscal and monetary policies.

She said: "Of course since the news broke there have been concerns in the markets which is not unusual. When there is movement of one of the major people managing the economy, there is bound to be some reactions but I just want to use this opportunity to focus on assuring market participants of the resolute attention that this government will be paying to managing this economy. Our objective remains to maintain macroeconomic stability. That has been the hallmark of this administration".

The minister noted that the macroeconomic stability achieved so far was a product of the government's stable economic policies and that the suspension of Mallam Sanusi would not affect their continuity, especially given the fact that the Acting CBN Governor, Mrs. Sarah Alade has been directly in charge of policies at the CBN.

According to her, "it is the macroeconomic stability that has enabled us to continue to transform the different sectors of the economy and that will not change. We will maintain tight fiscal policies. We expect a continuation of the tight monetary policies that has been on at the Central Bank.

We are confident that this will continue as the new Acting Governor, Mrs. Sarah Alade is the Deputy Governor, Policy, you will all recall. So she has been part of crafting those policies that the former governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has been implementing.

"With this we will continue the policies that have brought about the fiscal and monetary stability that has been the bedrock of our economy.

We hope market participants will get back to business as usual. We believe the stability of the Naira will be there and we will continue to manage the situation going forward."

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala admitted fluctuations and slight depreciation of the Naira following the break of the news of Sanusi's removal but expressed optimism that the market should normalize after her assurances.

"There will be no change in the policy stance of the government. The nation's inflation has remained at a single digit at 8 per cent: external reserves at $ 4. 1.4 billion and fiscal deficit at 1.9 per cent of the GDP and a current account surplus.

"The Naira has fluctuated and depreciated a bit on this news but with this announcement I am making assurances that we will continue with the tightness of policies, and we expect that the Naira will stabilize", she said.

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