Godwin Emefiele appointed by Goodluck Jonathan after the inglorious exit of the controversial Sanusi Lamido Sanusi( SLS) as Governor of the Central bank of Governor of Nigeria( CBN) has just been reappointed to serve another five-year tenure. He was nominated by the president and cleared by the Senate.
Now, does this man the deserve renewal of his appointment? For as to make an objective assessment of his tenure, it’s imperative that we download the core responsibilities of CBN and juxtapose it to his performance in the years he was in the office.
The core responsibilities of CBN included formulating and implementing monetary policy, determining interest rates and directing money supply to achieve price stability, regulating and supervising the banks and financial system, managing the foreign reserve and ensuring the stability of the financial market.
Let us talk of the management of foreign reserves, yes of recent the bank has tried because the reserves were down to $30b from its peak of $40m in January 2014 when his predecessor was in charge and it plummeted to $23b in 2016. It has now risen to $40b this is a remarkable achievement.
On monetary policy, this is where Emefiele performed woefully and if I were to disqualify him from being re-appointed that will be the basis. He inherited from SLS N160- $1, but within a year, the Naira received its worse bashing, plummeted to almost N500- $1. This was attributed to the corruption that had infested the management of FOREX management. That forex was allocated to speculators who were well connected in the system and at ridiculously cheap prizes and sold at high rates. The real importers had to buy the foreign exchange through the third party thereby weakening our Naira with the attendant consequences to the economy. The Naira has now stabilized at N360- $1, which is quite exorbitant.
On price stability, this is another area CBN under Emefiele that has been poorly managed. This is closely linked to the management of foreign exchange. Since we are the import-dependent economy, the prices of good and services are tied to strength our local currency. Because of the worthlessness of Naira, the cost of goods and services skyrocketed. Price of rice rose from N8000- N20000 and other commodities rose beyond the reach of most people. It, therefore, follows that inflation that was single digits before Emefiele came to office rose to double digits. Same thing with interest rate which rose to also from single digit to double digits.
Another area of concern is the contracting of the economy. During his tenure, we went into recession and even after exiting from the recession, the economy is growing at a ridiculous rate of 1.9% as of 2019. compared to Ethiopia 8%, Ghana and ivory cost at 7%. Now it becomes more worrisome when our population grows at 3.3%. This is spelling doom to the economy. On top of all these, the economy shrunk from over $500b before he took over in 2014 to $350b.
Now the worst performance of Emefiele is in the area of corruption where he allowed the government officials and party apparatchiks during GEJ regime to have limitless access to state funds. It was in that era that the sum of $2.1b was released to Dasuki on the pretext of purchase of arms, but was used to distribute largesse to big shots. A trained financial expert would have insisted that the funds will be released to ministry finance after due processes were followed in the award of contracts to suppliers, but that was not the case. In the same vein, the management of Forex as a pointed out was infested with corruption under this regime that supposedly has zero tolerance to corruption. Because the well connected to the power that corruptly used the forex wrongly allocated to them to undermine our currency thereby contributing to the economic mess we have found ourselves.
I’m therefore convinced Godwin Emefiele got reappointed not for Stellar performance but more to do with pandering to the interest of those that call the shots. Forget about the appointment being a testimony of the desire for the government being inclusive. I’m wrong since this an assumption which Gen Danladi Zakari has accused of and he could be right.