“Only Drug Dealers Can Make Money With Current Interest Rates”- Gov. El-Rufai

Nasir El-Rufai

The governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, On Wednesday attacked the Central Bank of Nigeria over the prevailing fiscal regime, saying its 14 per cent monetary policy rate has led to massive job losses in the country.

The governor made these comments at a special edition round-table organised by Women in Business, a non-profit women advocacy organisation, in Abuja.

He said only criminal elements could successfully operate under the current fiscal policy and that the CBN risks losing its power to set lending rates for commercial banks unless it immediately addressed the situation.

“We have a Central Bank that has an MPR at —what?— 14 per cent and banks lending at 20 percent. Only traders and drug dealers can make money at this interest rate.

“I have said it before and I will repeat it again, unless the Central Bank and the banking system make a conscious decision to bring interest rate down, one day we would legislate it,” Mallam El-Rufai said.

According to the governor, the apex bank’s high-interest rate is unreasonable.

“The rate of inflation in the UK is not 2 per cent or 1 per cent. It is 7-8 per cent. But lending rate is at what one percent. I think they cut the interest rate last week.

“All these theories that the rate of interest must be above the rate of inflation is economic bullshit.

“We must decide that businesses should be able to borrow at the rate interest that makes sense and politically lower rates to that level,” Mallam El-Rufai said.