Emefiele: policy saboteurs will no longer be spared


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Saboteurs of economic policies will find their match in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), should Governor Godwin Emefiele get the Senate’s all-clear for a fresh tenure. He said yesterday that circumventing the policies designed by the Federal Government to stabilise the economy had been the bane of Nigeria’s development. Emefiele spoke when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions for screening as CBN Governor following his reappointment for another five-year term. He said: “Part of the problem that we have seen in Nigeria is lack of respect for the policies of this country. Nigeria is very good at putting in place policies that are sound and workable, but implementation has always been almost zero. “And it is arising because we see sabotage activities. We see people when policies are made, where they pick up the pieces of paper about the policy; what they think about is how do we circumvent this policy? “The Central Bank of Nigeria, if given this mandate, will push very hard to ensure that those who seek to undermine the policies of Nigeria without respecting the laws of this country will be brought to book under any circumstances. “And that is why I said, ‘please, pray for us’ because the road ahead is still rough.” Emefiele did not mention the specific policies that may have attracted saboteurs. But the prohibition of 21 items from accessing foreign exchange has been controversial. The CBN insists that the list will be expanded to strenghten the naira and some local industries. There are also those who think the easy access to forex at banks has killed their profiteering at the parallel market. The CBN boss said the era of relying on crude oil as the mainstay of the nation’s economy was gone for good as some other commodities have overtaken petroleum in value at the international market. He told his audience: “For some of you who are very good in doing calculations, go and check today: the price of a barrel of palm oil is more than the price of a barrel of crude oil. So, what happened to our country? “There are countries when they have the opportunities in agriculture and also have opportunities in the crude sector, they didn’t let their guards down. “But, unfortunately, we did and that is what we are paying for today. So that when there are some external shocks in the crude oil market, we sneeze, but we only smile when the market is good. “We will grow that market back again. And after that, we will go into cocoa in the South West area to be sure that what we are doing permeates all the nooks and crannies of this country. Because we think we owe Nigerians this.” Read also: Emefiele to Nigerians: Tough economic times still ahead Emefiele, who thanked the lawmakers for praying for the CBN to succeed, said: “I thank you for praying for me because we need it. I say this because the road ahead is still rough and very tough. “But I want to appeal to all Nigerians that a time comes in the history of a country where you have to learn to respect the policies and laws of a country.” He decried the high level of disregard and disrespect for policies and laws of the country. The CBN boss noted that there was no doubt that observing policies and laws put in place by the government is a sure way of growing the  economy. Emefiele explained what the apex bank did to lift the country out of recession. He vowed that those who work to circumvent and flout laws would no longer be spared. The CBN governor was worried over the country’s rapid population growth rate, warning that steps must be taken to put in place policies that would take care the projected 425 million people in 2050. Emefiele said: “We just came back from the IMF/World Bank programme in April. And in the World Bank’s/IMF’s World Economic Outlook, Nigeria is positioned as a country whose population will grow and rise to over 425 million people by the year 2050. “That will present Nigeria as a country with the third largest population in the world after China and India and indeed surpassing the United States of America in population. “I worry and I do think that we all should worry that a lot of work needs to be done to make sure that we are able to put in place policies that will make life good for this 425 million people, when we are the third largest population in the world. “So, we from the Central Bank of Nigeria, from the monetary policy side, have come to the realisation that using the instrumentality of the Anchor Borrowers Programme where access to credit is being provided to our masses all over the country, that it will be a way to generate employment and boost economic activity amongst our rural population. “The results are there to see that as a result of our Anchor Borrowers Programme where we have disbursed over N190 billion to over 1.1 million small holder farmers, cultivating over 1.3 million hectares of land, that we need to do more of this. “As we do this, we make finance available at lo...