The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has vowed to employ every indispensable means whether conventional or otherwise, to ensure that the Nigerian economy flourishes.
This is just as the apex bank stressed that its policies are appropriate to set the economy on the right part of development in the medium and long term.
The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, expressed these views while presenting a paper titled ‘Managing Monetary Policy in Turbulent Times’ to participants of Course 38 at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, near Jos, Plateau State.
According to Emefiele, although the CBN had been unjustly lambasted for some of its policies, local jobs have been created.
“Looking at the size and structure of our import bill, it is apparent that we as a people cannot continue to depend on other countries for things that can easily be produced locally. How do we justify the importation of items like eggs from South Africa, beef from Zambia and toothpick from China? It is in view of this fact that one of our fundamental quests at the CBN is to attain an inclusive growth by ensuring that the Nigerian economy is self-sufficient in every sense of the word”, he said.
The CBN governor pointed out that “four commodities including rice, fish, wheat and sugar jointly account for an annual food import bill of N1.3 trillion even though we have the capacity to produce them in Nigeria”.
Emefiele lamented that Nigeria’s textile industry, which was one of the highest employers of labour, had been closed down because of the activities of smugglers, stressing that “cheap textiles from China flooded our country and they killed our industries. We allowed this to happen; we did nothing to protect our own. In the USA, go and say you want to import steel, they will not stop you but the kind of surcharge they impose on you will be so heavy that you will not import steel into the country. If you insist, they will surcharge you and use that surcharge to subsidise their local industries to protect them”.
While fielding questions on the recent criticism of some of the bank’s policies by two of his predecessors – Muhammadu Sanusi II (current Emir of Kano) and Prof. Charles Soludo – Emefiele condemned their decision to go public when they have channels of direct communication with him.
“It is so easy to criticize from the outside and say what is not true. As a central banker, whether present or former, what you need to do is to sit back in your garden and provide advice through channels that have been provided to you. Those channels remain open and we will continue to encourage them to use those channels and not for them to sit in their gardens, saying what is not true”, he said in apparent response to a claim by Sanusi II that he can sit in his garden and make some phone calls that will generate over a billion naira simply by trading forex.