The experts spoke to Daily Trust in the wake of Emefiele's confirmation by the Senate as the governor of Nigeria's apex bank for another five years.Economic experts yesterday said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele should give priority to areas that will stimulate growth, reduce unemployment, and curtail inflation.
A specialist in Development Economics and Public Finance Prof Nazifi Abdullahi Darma said Emefiele should focus on providing funds to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), bridging the gap between official and black market exchange rates to avoid round tripping.
Prof Darma, who is of the Department of Economics, University of Abuja, added that the CBN governor should improve on the Anchor Borrower programme to enhance agricultural activities in the country.
"Emefiele should also work towards reducing the interest rate so that more Nigerians, especially the manufacturers, can be able to access and take loans which will be easily paid back because of low interest rate," he said.
The Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf, said it is expected that CBN will come up with strategies to ensure better alignment of the banking system to development aspirations.
He added that currently the banking system is largely disconnected from the real economy, and Emefiele should work towards correcting this.
"The CBN should work in close collaboration with other economic ministries and agencies to ensure proper coordination of policies and actions. There is an urgent need to review the regime of multiple rates in the foreign exchange market to improve allocation efficiency and transparency in the market.
"There is need for a system wide approach to funding investments in the economy as against sectoral approach as well as the need to reduce the cost of government borrowing in order to reduce the crowding out effect on the private sector in the economy," he said.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Daily Trust Board of Economists Prof Ode Ojowu said "Emefiele should prepare a gradual exit strategy from CBN's current over exposure to fiscal operations and return to its traditional functions of price and foreign exchange stability."
Another economist and a former Managing Director of one of Nigeria's commercial banks said the CBN governor should now operate more transparent foreign exchange management whereby market is allowed to determine rates while CBN intervenes from time to time to assure stability and mitigate speculative demand.
"Even though latest inflation data has increased, the governor and the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) must focus on reducing Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) to at least a figure no less than the inflation rate. In so doing, incidence of negative interest rate will be avoided thereby not jeopardizing foreign portfolio investment," the former MD who pleaded anonymity told Daily Trust.
He also said the governor should encourage the fiscal authorities to implement the annual budgets to help in further stimulating the economy and bolstering effective demand of goods and services.
"Emefiele should also work with the fiscal authorities to gradually reduce subsidy on petroleum products as it has become a huge drain on scarce state resources," he added.
Emefiele performed well in first term - Senate
Emefiele's confirmation followed the adoption of the report of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions chaired by Sen Rafiu Ibrahim (PDP, Kwara).
The Senate had on Tuesday mandated the Ibrahim-led committee to screen Emefiele and report back in one week, based on a request by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The committee met with Emefiele on Wednesday where all members of the panel cleared him for reappointment.
Presenting the report of the committee at yesterday's plenary, Ibrahim said the committee arrived at the following: "That the nominee has performed credibly in his first tenure; that the nominee has the required experience to be so confirmed.
"That the nominee has over 30 years' experience in banking; that the committee found the nominee worthy of being confirmed for another term of five years as CBN governor."
After his presentation, the Senate resolved into the committee of whole, considered and confirmed Emefiele.
Senate President Bukola Saraki wished Emefiele a successful second tenure and urged him to do his best as the apex bank's chief in the next five years.
Emefiele had during his screening on Wednesday told the senators that "the road ahead is tough and rough. I want to appeal to our people to respect the policies of the country. We always put good policies in place, but implementation is a problem.
"We have a lot of saboteurs. We have people who don't respect our policies. Those who intend to undermine our policies will be brought to justice. This is what we have done.
"People have raised issues with multiple exchange rates. Today, our rates have converged. We have multiple windows and we have no apologies for it. We have a responsibility to provide exchange rates for everyone."
APC Reps divided over Emefiele
The All Progressives Congress (APC) caucus in the House of Representatives has faulted Rep Gudaji Kazaure (APC-Jigawa) on the reappointment of the Central Bank Governor (CBN) Mr Godwin Emefiele.
Kazaure had urged President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse the reappointment of Emefiele as governor of CBN, saying that the Buhari Support Group, Buhari Campaign Organisation and the Buhari Die Hard Group were not happy with the reappointment. He also said Emefiele has not performed well in office as naira exchange rate to a dollar has risen drastically from N180 to N360 under his watch.
But at a news briefing on Thursday in Abuja, the spokesman of the group, Rep. Abdulmumin Jibrin (APC-Kano) said Kazaure's stand on the matter does not reflect the position of the group.
"We stand by the President, we support that appointment and we are pretty sure that because of the good works Emefiele has done in the last four years, he deserves reappointment. "We also commend the Senate for confirming the CBN Governor, this shows that the decision of President is the right one," Jibrin said.