January 20, 2017

Emefiele, Peterside differ on forex policies

Emefiele, Peterside differ on forex policies

Chairman of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Mr. Atedo Peterside and Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele

By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief & Emmanuel Elebeke

#Multiple rates hurting economy — Peterside
#Policies are in interest of Nigerians — Emefiele
#No choice than borrow — Adeosun
ABUJA— Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele and Chairman of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Mr. Atedo Peterside, yesterday, disagreed over the apex bank’s foreign exchange policies, which the latter said created multiple rates and is hurting the nation’s economy.

However, Emefiele countered this position, insisting that the nation’s foreign reserves were being depleted at an unprecedented rate, explaining that CBN’s policies represented measures taken to protect the interests of Nigerians.

They spoke at the Daily Trust Policy Dialogue in Abuja, with the theme, “Beyond Recession: Towards a Resilient Economy.”

Peterside was very critical of what he regarded as the current administeration’s “half-hearted policy in various areas, including the foreign exchange regime, downstream sub-sector of the petroleum industry, the handling of the Niger Delta and particularly the Amnesty Programme and the foreign loan quest, among others.

Chairman of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Mr. Atedo Peterside and Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele

CBN must accept that its forex policies have failed —Peterside

On the forex, Peterside stated: “The CBN should accept that its foreign exchange and demand management policies have failed. The more restrictions they have placed on forex repatriation, the less likely it has become that badly needed forex inflows from portfolio investors, foreign direct investors and Nigerians will pick up.

“CBN has inadvertently created a siege mentality, thereby making privileged access to its forex allocations, which are reserved largely for the politically well-connected, the best investment game in town.

Policies not made in isolation— Emefiele

Indicating that policy challenges are usually multi-dimensional Emefiele stated: “For us  policy makers, we are faced with low oil prices with heavily depleted foreign reserves.  What can we do? We can only continue to prioritise our needs. Our priority today is Nigeria and Nigerian market and we will continue to do our best.

“With the limited resources at our disposal, we will continue to give forex to those that want to import raw materials that we cannot produce in the country.

“We will give emphasis to those that want to import plants and equipment that will help this country. We will give support to those who are going into agriculture, importing agric raw material and implements.

“I will say that some of the 11 points raised by Atedo Perterside are contestable but it is very important that we talk from the stand point of understanding of the reason why certain policy decisions were taken.

“Policies are not made in isolation, they are made because certain  things have happened and with some objectives in mind with desire to ensure that those objectives are achieved.

“I will disagree with some of his points. But I think, it is very important that before we make conclusion, we should cast our minds back on why these policies were made rather than criticizing them.

“We will look at the points, some of them we will take. I will find time so that we  can share why some of those policies were put in place.

“We love our country and we will not do anything wrong to our country. We are willing to dialogue and understand where challenges are coming from.

“Government is doing its best in the face of the global economic challenges. We will not head in the way of Venezuela and Zimbabwe. We will work together for Nigerians because we love our country.”

Address insecurity,  Dogara tells FG

In his address, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, said the nation’s economy would never attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) if the insecurity and violence were not checked by the current administration.

No choice than borrow— Adeosun

In her presentation, Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, said the nation had no choice than to borrow, especially from foreign sources, on concessionary basis.

She said the funds would be appropriately utilized in the provision of infrastructure that would grow the economy.

Her words: “We have no choice than to borrowing in order to grow the economy. If we do not fix the infrastructure, we cannot unlock the economy.  The administration is determined to unlock the economy no matter what it takes.”

Murtala/Obasanjo regime derailed Nigeria’s devt—Asiodu

Chief Philip Asiodu, who chaired the occasion, blamed the regime of Generals Mohammed Murtala/Olusegun Obasanjo for terminating the nation’s 1975-1980 Development Plan.

He said Nigerian veered from the right path of development by that singular act of terminating that plan and sacking top civil servants en mass, and that regrettably, the nation had not recovered from that error, till date.

The Chairman of Daily Trust, Mr. Kabir Yusuf, observed that 2016 was the worst year in the nation’s recent history but expressed optimism that with the predictions by the World Bank that the nation would return to growth, this year.