Nigeria: Okorafor - Emefiele, CBN Focused On Stimulating Economic Growth

25 June 2020

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Wednesday said its Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, and his team would not be deterred in their efforts to steer the Nigerian economy away from the looming recession due to the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, in spite of the push by some vested interests to impugn the integrity of the bank.

A statement from the bank quoted its Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, as telling journalists during an interaction in Abuja that CBN had uncovered plans by "some persons with selfish interests in Nigeria's economic and socio-political space to distract the CBN and discredit the institution through deliberate misinformation, complete fabrications and outright lies."

According to him, the bank, in pursuit of its mandate enshrined in the CBN Act (2007), as amended, "will continue to strive to ensure accretion to the external reserves to safeguard the international value of the naira, in addition to ensuring no individual or institution circumvents the system."

Okorafor said the naira, in the past three years, had remained stable against other world currencies "due largely to strict measures put in place by the CBN to check cases of round-tripping."

Besides, the bank, working with other relevant agencies of government, has "equally curtailed the activities of economic saboteurs neck-deep in smuggling and other economic crimes."

While noting that those opposed to the policies of the CBN "will not relent in their effort to undermine the bank," he said the bank remained resolute to the dictates of its enabling Act and would not be distracted by subjective criticisms from persons who do not mean well for the general good of the Nigerian people and the economy.

He recalled that the CBN, under Emefiele's leadership, had made genuine and patriotic efforts at promoting economic growth and development through its intervention programmes, particularly in the agricultural sector, leading to the revamp of value chains across over 10 agricultural commodities, including cotton, oil palm, fish, poultry, livestock and maize, among others.

In addition, the CBN spokesman cited the rice revolution under the Anchor Borrowers' Programme (ABP) as a major contributor to shielding Nigeria from a food crisis when major rice producing countries of the world halted exports from their shores in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also alluding to the recent interventions of the bank through the N50 billion Targeted Credit facility (TCF) for households and small businesses affected by the pandemic and the N100 billion credit support for the health sector, Okorafor said the bank remained people-oriented.

The CBN spokesman bemoaned a situation where persons "with vested interest in the economy of the country and its socio-political landscape continued to misinform unsuspecting members of the policies of the bank as well as impugn the integrity of the institution and its key officers."

Okorafor assured Nigerians that the CBN remained committed to transparently pursue its mandate in the interest of majority of Nigerians rather than for the selfish interest of a few, stressing that majority of Nigerians are better informed and would not indulge in unpatriotic economic acts for selfish purposes.

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