For his sterling performance and the need to consolidate the economic gains of his first term, President Muhammadu Buhari has reappointed Mr Godwin Emefiele as Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor for another term of five years.
Emefiele's reappointment became public knowledge yesterday when Buhari forwarded his name to the Senate for confirmation.
The apex bank governor's first term expires next month and to avoid a vacuum because of the sensitive nature of the office, the president promptly wrote a letter to the Senate to clear him for the job.
Emefiele was first appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014 towards the last days of his administration. Before yesterday, there were speculations that Buhari may replace Emefiele as he plans to constitute another economic team for his second term in office.
All this was put to rest when the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki read out Buhari's re-nomination of Emefiele on the floor of the Upper House yesterday.
In the letter, Buhari said: "In view of the expiration of his first tenure as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in June 2019, and in pursuant to the provision of Section 81 (2) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007, I hereby present for confirmation of the Senate, Mr. Godwin I. Emefiele for reappointment as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the final term of five years."
Buhari expressed the hope that the senators would consider and confirm the nominee in the "usual expeditious manner. Please accept, Senate president, the assurances of my highest order," the letter stated.
Since his assumption of office in 2014, Emefiele has led the apex bank through a rough and challenging economic and business environment where he has evolved viable fiscal and monetary policies to achieve a more stable exchange rate, stronger banking sector and vibrant agriculture industry.
Emefiele leads a CBN that has intervened in the real sector of the economy and other segments, with agriculture, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) and even education receiving special attention.
Nigerians Hail Decision, Set Agenda For Emefiele
In spontaneous reactions to the president's renewal of Emefiele's mandate, economic experts and politicians have praised Buhari for acting in the nation's interest.
Top officials of the CBN were not left out as they commended the president for being proactive and picking the best for the job.
On behalf of the CBN family, the apex bank's director of Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okorafor, said that Buhari's re-nomination of Emefiele was a recognition of his patriotism and commitment to the development of the Nigerian economy.
Okorafor said that in the weeks to come, Emefiele would speak to Nigerians on what to expect in his second term.
"However," he said, "the best way to go in the opinion of the governor is to put capital in the hands of those who can drive the economy through the MSMEs and of course, the real sector to effectively power the economy."
In the same manner, a professor of capital market, Uche Uwaleke, described Emefiele's appointment as "a good omen for the capital market," adding that the development was one that speaks of policy consistency.
Uwaleke said: "It will further consolidate macroeconomic stability, especially with respect to exchange rate and inflation. Investors both domestic and foreign can have some degree of confidence in the direction of monetary policy which is positive for the capital market."
The general perception among industry watchers is that the interventions by the CBN in critical sectors of the economy, especially agriculture and non-agric based SMEs, would continue with his reappointment. The prediction is that these would rub off positively on the economic recovery efforts of the federal government, now Emefiele had signalled an accommodative monetary policy stance.
Uwaleke, who is also the head of Banking and Finance Department at the Nasarawa State University, Lafia, continued: "It is equally positive for financial systems stability. There are expected intensification and effective monitoring of the interventions, in particular, the Anchor Borrower Programme. Emefiele should also focus on ensuring increased access to credit by SMEs and generally fostering a low-interest rate environment with the support of fiscal authorities."
The national chairman, North East Commodity Association (NECAS), Alhaji Sadiq Daware, said that Emefiele's reappointment was good news for Nigerian farmers.
Daware said: "The people of Nigeria, particularly farmers, are very happy with what President Buhari did today (yesterday) in forwarding the name of Godwin Emefiele to the Senate for a second term of five years. This is a clear indication that people who are honest, hardworking, have the common man in their heart would always have their way."
Also, the senator-elect for Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Dr Uba Sani, commended Emefiele for introducing measures that had strengthened the economy and the apex bank.
Uba Sani said that "his reappointment must gladden the hearts of Nigerian patriots interested in the progress of our country and the building of a vibrant and dynamic economy as it is being repositioned to confront the monumental challenges facing the country."
Uba Sani stated that the "news of the re-nomination of Mr Godwin Emefiele as Central Bank governor for a second term by President Muhammadu Buhari must gladden the hearts of Nigerian patriots interested in the progress of our country and the building of a vibrant and dynamic economy.
"This bold and well-thought decision by Mr. President is highly commendable and must be supported by all and sundry as we reposition our economy to confront the monumental challenges facing our dear nation.
"I am particularly happy at this vote of confidence in Mr Emefiele. That is one man I can fully attest to his integrity, forthrightness, competence, resourcefulness and innovativeness. He has introduced so many measures in a bid to strengthen the CBN and make it a truly world-class apex financial institution. Critical and strategic thinking goes into the formulation of our monetary policies. He has also been able to reasonably steady the naira against international currencies. The CBN has also initiated and executed projects in furtherance of its corporate social responsibility. Above all, Mr. Emefiele provided the needed leadership as we battled and eventually wriggled out of recession," Uba said.
The chief research officer of InvestData Consulting Limited, Mr. Omordion Ambrose said that the reappointment of Emefiele signalled the president's readiness and interest in rebuilding the economy and the same time sustain the seeming recovery as revealed by economic indices, which the governor's initiatives and strategies helped to exit the nation from recession.
Ambrose added that Buhari's action would have positive impact on the market and the economy at large, adding that investors have been standing on the sideline due to fear over the expiration of Emefiele's first tenure.
He said that it further showed that the governor's monetary policy had supported the federal government to achieve its economic goals, which he noted, would strengthen foreign investors' confidence and attract financial inflows into the economy.
Similarly, the managing director of HighCap Securities Limited, Mr. David Adonri, said that the Emefiele-led CBN has been able to maintain finance sector stability, especially the money market, which he asserted had experienced relative stability.
Adonri, however, remarked that "exchange and interest rates have remained stable. Essentially, the monetary policy under Emefiele did not favour the real productive sector of the economy, rather it has aided the short-trading economy; this has branded Nigeria as a trading or merchandise economy. This is what happened under his first tenure."
He expressed hope that the governor's second term would focus on a productive economy and a capital market where monetary policies would aid capital formation.