Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, on Wednesday, decried the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN’s prevailing fiscal regime, saying the bank’s 14 percent monetary policy rate had led to massive job losses in the country.
El-Rufai said the CBN risked losing its power to set lending rates for commercial banks unless it immediately addressed the situation, contending that only unscrupulous elements could successfully operate under the current fiscal policy atmosphere.
The governor, who spoke at a special roundtable organised by Women in Business, a non-profit women advocacy organisation, in Abuja, said: “We have a Central Bank that has an MPR at —what? — 14 percent 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.”
He dismissed CBN’s reasons for high interest rate, and used the ‘B’ word to express his disgust.
According to him, “the rate of inflation in the UK is not two percent or one percent. It is seven to eight. But lending rate is at 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 (expletive).
“We must decide that businesses should be able to borrow at an interest rate that makes sense and politically lower rates to that level.”
The roundtable attracted professionals from all walks of life and the participants used the platform to share ideas and express challenges faced in running a successful enterprise.