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Sovereign Wealth Fund: We are doing the little we can to develop Nigeria — Emefiele

CBN, Emefiele, Africa, economy
CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele

By Henry Umoru 

GOVERNOR of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, told the Senate yesterday t that it was doing the little it could within its capacity for the development of the country. 
 
Speaking yesterday in Abuja when he appeared before the Senator Solomon Adeola, APC, Lagos West led Senate  Committee on Finance to explain the rationale behind the exchange rates it used for three key projects under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund(PIDF) being funded to the tune of billions of naira by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment  Authority(NSIA) across the country, Emefiele said that one of the roles of the Apex bank was  to  maintain  price and monetary stability depending on the currency of the country. 

Also read: Increase in VAT: Senate Kicks, Summons Finance Minister, FIRS Chairman

 Emefiele who first apologised for his inability to honour the invitations of the panel stressed that it was not done to disrespect the Senate as a body.
He said, ” First,  I apologise for my absence at the committee’s sitting yesterday (Monday),  I was unfortunately held down in another assignment where I was with the Vice president of the country.
“I want to put on record that the Central Bank of Nigeria recognises the special roles and the responsibilities of not only the Senate, the National Assembly but also the Senate Committee on Finance in the overall development of Nigeria regarding the banking industry.
“Having apologised,  I will want to say that CBN has its core mandates that are enshrined in the 2007 Central Bank of Nigeria Act as amended, which includes maintaining price and monetary stability depending on the currency of the country.
“We also act as financial adviser to the Federal Government of Nigeria. In the area of monetary policy, I am trying as much as possible to ensure that monetary policies decisions are those that would impact positively in the lives of the people.
“It should not just be about interest rates or exchange rates but how do decisions on exchange rates and interest rates impact positively on the lives of our people.
“You would have observed through our activities and pronouncements that we are doing the little we can to the development of the country.”
When asked to speak on Stamp Duty, Emefiele said, “Distinguished Chairman sir,  at this junction, due to the fact that the stamp duty matter and other related matters are currently at the High Court, I would like to crave your kind indulgence to permit us to speak off-camera. “
 
Earlier on arrival at the Senate panel, Senator Adeola drew the attention of Emefiele to the series of invitations the committee had been extending to him but were usually turned down without cogent reasons.
He said, “Long before now,  we had expected that we would have you around especially on the issue of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper which the Federal Government Budget is predicated upon.
“We were told that you were very busy and that your schedule was very tight. The issue we are looking forward to hearing from you today is the one that borders on stamp duty which we want you to tell us how the stamp duty under your watch has been performing.
” We also want to know what should be our expectations in this year’s budget and how revenue from stamp duty could work for us in the 2020 Appropriation Act.
“We also want you to brief on the profile of Nigeria as a country in terms of monetary policies,  as it affects the economy of the country.
“The man in charge of the Sovereign Wealth Investment Authority is not here but we will allow the CBN Governor to speak on the issue aspect that concerns the CBN.”
At the end of the day, Senator Adeola granted the request of the CBN Governor and the meeting ended in closed session.
Recall that the  Senate had on Monday walked out the representatives of the Governor of  Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN,  Godwin Emefiele at an investigative hearing on the issue of exchange rates for funding key projects.

The Senate Committee on Finance asked the Deputy Governor of CBN,  Adebisi Shonubi, who represented Emefiele to leave with his team.

The Senate  Committee on Finance had invited the CBN Governor to appear before it yesterday to explain the rationale behind the exchange rates it used for three key projects under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund(PIDF) being funded to the tune of billions of naira by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment  Authority(NSIA) across the country.

Emefiele was expected at the Senate panel with detailed explanations on the rationale behind the exchange rates the CBN used for three key projects under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund.

The multi-billion-dollar projects are being funded by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment  Authority.

Also recall that the  PIDF was earmarked from the dollar-denominated Sovereign Wealth Fund to partly fund the Lagos–Ibadan Expressway, Second Niger Bridge,  Abuja–Kano Expressway, East-West Road and Mambilla Hydro Project.

The first three projects had already been funded to the tune of N163.8bn.

Vanguard

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