By Ifeyinwa Obi
ABUJA—The leadership of Coalition of Civil Society Groups, CCSG, has called on relevant bodies that make up the country’s economic team to direct efforts to creative, innovative, unconventional and non-textbook solutions to the country’s problems.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja after an emergency meeting by the Group to address the current economic challenges facing the country, its President, Mr. Etuk Williams, stated that it was no longer news that the country’s economy was in dire straits as inflation had risen from stable single-digits to over 17 per cent, unemployment revolving around 18 per cent, exchange rate was dropping quickly, government revenues were falling as fiscal balances deteriorate, trade balances were floundering and indeed the country is in recession.
He said, “It seem to us that those entrusted with the management of this economy are bereft of creative ideas on the way forward or, worst still, do not understand the complexities of the current challenges.
As far as we know, macroeconomic policies are divided broadly into monetary and fiscal. The fiscal authorities are generally entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring economic robustness including sound growth, vast employment, infrastructure development, trade policies, industrial policies, structural policies, and a welcoming business environment.
“While it is neither our duty nor our intention to defend one organisation or the other, we cannot help but notice the scapegoating and asymmetric blaming of the Central Bank of Nigeria for the conditions of the Nigerian economy.
“As far as we are concerned, the CBN has its own shortcomings, one of which is its attempts, through its quasi-fiscal activities, to assume the duties of other bodies in the economic management endeavour. But I guess they have resorted to doing so because nature does not allow vacuums. If others were not doing their jobs, maybe someone has to do same. Whatever the case is, we believe that this disproportionate blame-game should stop now.”
“The CBN has not only made visible attempts at its bi-monthly Monetary Policy Committee meetings at working towards its mandate, it has also ventured in quasi-fiscal duties to fill the gap created by indolent and inept organisations. For instance, we are aware of its various interventions in agriculture sector, in power, in micro, small and medium enterprises, in education and in aviation sector.
“The bank has consistently bailed out entities in these sectors and others. More recently, we are aware of the bailout of states, which is an almost monthly occurrence now. These are states, whose Governors have failed to be responsible and creative in the managing their economic resources.”