Emefiele allays fears over failure of MPC to hold First Quarter meeting

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Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has dispelled fears expressed by Nigerians and the international community over the inability of the Monetary Policy Committee, MPC, to hold its meeting for January, assuring that the nation’s economic indicators remain strong.

Emefiele made this known in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday while disclosing that the meeting earlier scheduled for January 22 and 23, had been put off due to the non-confirmation of the MPC nominees by the Senate.

Newsworth is aware that the upper legislative chamber had resolved not to further confirm nominations made by the Executive in protest against the retention of Ibrahim Magu as the acting chairman of the EFCC after his appointment as chairman was refused. President Muhammadu Buhari had moved to replace retiring members of the MPC but the Senate has refused to act on the appointments which can only take effect after clearance from the Senate.

The President, in October 2017, nominated Mrs Aisha Ahmad as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. He also sought the confirmation of Mr Adeola  Adenikinju, Mr Aliyu  Sanusi, Mr Robert  Asogwa and Mrs Asheikh Maidugu as members of the CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee.

The Second Schedule of the CBN Act (Section 12(5) and 54, stipulates that the MPC shall meet at least four times in a year and that the quorum shall be six members; two of whom shall be the Governor and a Deputy Governor or two Deputy Governors.

The CBN governor however explained that the Monetary Policy Committee, MPC, meeting for January would not be held due to the apex bank’s inability to form a quorum as stipulated in the CBN Act 2007.

But despite the statutory meeting not holding in January, he said that key economic indicators in the country continued to move in the right direction, adding that the CBN would continue to maintain the key monetary variables as decided in the last MPC meeting of November 2017.

During that meeting, the Monetary Policy Rate, MPR, was retained at 14 per cent; CRR at 22.5 per cent; Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent and the Asymmetric Corridor at +200 and -500 basis points around the MPR.

Emefiele cited the recovery in oil prices and boost in domestic production and Nigeria’s exit from recession in 2017 as positive indicators. Other indicators are the decline in the inflation rate to 15.37 per cent and accretion to the country’s Foreign Exchange Reserves, which now stands at 40.78 billion dollars.

He said that this underscored the fact that the Nigerian economy remained strong. Furthermore, he noted that strong investor confidence in Nigeria had attracted inflows of about 13 billion dollars through the Investors’ and Exporters’ (I&E) window, opened by the CBN in 2017.

The CBN governor pointed out that these inflows have boosted foreign exchange supply and helped to stabilise the exchange rate. “We have also seen Market Capitalisation of our Stock Exchange improve by 22.3 per cent from N13.21 trillion on Nov. 30, 2017, to N16.15 trillion as at Jan. 19, 2018.

“Also,  the All-Share Index (ASI) rose by 18.8 per cent from 37,944.60 to 45,092.83 over the same period,” he said, assuring that a revised schedule of the Meetings for the MPC would be communicated as soon as the Bank met the statutory requirements of membership and quorum for the MPC.

Emefiele further assured that the management of the CBN would continue to sustain the gains recorded in the economy as well as its vigilance and proactivity, to ensure overall macro-economic stability throughout 2018.

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