Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, on Saturday emphasised the need to strengthen efforts over the coming years to stimulate growth and create jobs in critical sectors to insulate the economy from global shocks.
Emefiele said this while giving a welcome address at a consultative roundtable titled, “Going for Growth” with some economic stakeholders in Lagos.
The CBN boss said that leaders and policymakers needed to strengthen their resolve in achieving the goal.
He also said that the move would assist in putting in place unconventional policies that would help insulate the economy from shocks in the global economy.
The CBN governor said in doing that, the CBN had recently been caught in a syndrome termed, ‘The Dilemma of Monetary Policy in Nigeria’.
Emefiele said, “Typically, for a nation to be seen to be prosperous, any citizen of that country will expect macro-economic indices such as low-interest rate regime, stable exchange rate regime and robust reserve position, low inflationary environment, as well as an environment of full employment.”
The CBN governor said: “Although we had hoped to achieve a lower level of interest rate, this became impossible given the normalisation of monetary policy in the United States and the over 60 per cent drop in crude oil prices between 2014 and 2016.
“You will agree with me that the consequence of these unfortunate occurrences was a heightened inflationary pressure on the economy and monetary policy had no option but to embark on a regime of tightening so as to rein inflation.
“We also deployed measures aimed at supporting improved productivity of the Nigerian economy by restricting access to foreign exchange on 43 items that could be produced in the country.
“We have also strengthened our intervention programmes which helped in restarting the flow of credit to critical sectors of the economy.
“As part of our interventions, we introduced the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme; a programme that helped to improve access to credit to Small Holder Farmers through our intervention programmes such as Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme and the Real Sector Support Fund.
“We have enabled large agro-processors and manufacturers expand their operations, thereby supporting our efforts at improving domestic production of goods,’’
Emefiele, however, said in spite of those results which were reassuring, the task of building a stronger economy was far from complete; with the pace of Gross Domestic Product growth remaining fragile and lagging behind the population growth rate of 2.7 per cent.
He noted that the country had yet to see a substantial increase in credit to the private sector by the financial institutions.