27 March 2014

Nigeria: What I'll Do As CBN Governor - Emefiele

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under Mr Godwin Emefiele shall vigorously pursue a development banking model (DBM) in addition to working hard to achieve the core mandate of monetary and price stability.

The nominee for CBN governor made the point at the Senate yesterday during his screening and eventual confirmation.

The Zenith Bank group managing director will replace the suspended apex bank governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, whose tenure expires in June.

Emefiele, who looked calm and confident, told the senators that DBM is a model that has been tried and tested in different jurisdictions in the world. "In fact, in some of the frontiers and emerging markets in the world, we have seen development banking used as a tool for achieving economic growth, development and industrialization," he stressed, adding that the model has helped Latin American countries including Brazil and Mexico to achieve economic growth and development, leading to Brazil emerging as one of the BRIC countries with a high potential for playing an increasing role in the world economy.

Emefiele also assured that the CBN under his watch will pay attention to job creation, describing the nation's unemployment situation as an emergency.

He stated: "We would ensure that, if approved, whatever monetary policy decisions that would be taken would be those that would improve the level of employment in Nigeria; we know that employment is very important. We know today that we have an employment emergency in Nigeria.

"And we must ensure that whatever decisions we take at the CBN in the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) would be those that would lead to improvement in the level of employment in Nigeria. We would ensure that we work with the manufacturing companies to ensure that we improve on their level of production and by extension ensure that we improve and achieve economic growth in Nigeria."

The Zenith Bank helmsman was unhappy about attempts to dollarise the nation's economy and pledged to do everything to discourage the attempt. He also committed to working for complementarity between monetary and fiscal policy, arguing that a harmonious relationship between the monetary and fiscal authorities was in the overall interest of the country.

The Senate yesterday unanimously confirmed Emefiele's appointment as CBN governor, just as it also confirmed the appointment of Hon. Zainab Balkachuwa as the president of the Appeal Court.

President Goodluck Jonathan had earlier forwarded the names of Emefiele and Balkachuwa to the Senate for consideration and confirmation as CBN boss and Appeal Court president respectively.

The Senate grilled the current Zenith Bank boss, Emefiele, for two hours.

Contrary to popular opinion that the economy of the country is stable with $39bn in foreign reserves, he maintained that there should be a synergy between the CBN and the Ministry of Finance to achieve economic growth.

Balkachuwa confirmed president of Appeal Court

On her part, during the Senate screening, Hon. Zainab Balkachuwa decried the poor funding of the judiciary. Most judges in Nigeria, she said, are computer Illiterates.

Said she: "We are the biggest court in the country. We have 90 justices as at now. We have 16 divisions of the Court of Appeal. But our budget this year is N10.1billion. The justices have their salaries, allowances which should be charged on the consolidated revenue fund. So if you take that out of the N10.1billion what are you left with? Then, we need courts and houses for our justices but we cannot continue.

"And then we have so many houses of the justices;they are dilapidated; they are out of fashion. Like the ones in Lagos, they are the old colonial houses that were given to our justices since the Supreme Court days because we inherited both the houses and the courts from the Supreme Court. We cannot renovate them because we lack the funding to do that. Some of our houses are in a sorry state. If our justices are comfortable, I assure, you have the best set of judges in Nigeria.

"It takes me also to the dwindling budget of the Judiciary. I don't allocate the budget; I am just confined to what we have and we have been trying to manage as much as we can. But we had to cry out. That is why we cried out last year and we are still crying out. We need our budget to be looked into. We need to have tools because our tools are our books, comfortable quarters and then comfortable houses.

"A judge will sit in court maybe till 5 o' clock. He will go back home maybe rest for two hours and then he will spend the whole night working and then come back to the court the next morning. So if his condition is perfect or if his condition is manageable, I am sure we will have more production."

Congratulating Emefiele and Bulkachuwa, Senate president David Mark charged them to add value to their fields.

Mark said, "These are two very key appointments and the amount of time we spent on it is a clear indication of the importance that we attach to these confirmations. The two people involved are very distinguished Nigerians and our prayers would go with them that Justice Bulkachuwa would deliver justice on time and Emefiele would ensure that he does the prescribed responsibilities of the governor of the Central Bank without fear or favour."

Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Banking and Finance screened the nominee for the position of the deputy governor of the CBN, Adelabu Adebayo Adekola. He may be confirmed next week by the Senate.

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