The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, on Saturday said the apex bank took the best monetary policy option in addressing the current economic challenges facing the country.
He also said that except Nigerians embrace fully the concept of diversification, the country would not be able to generate enough foreign exchange to cushion the effect of the drop in the value of the naira.
He further said the inability of the country to increase its stock of foreign exchange, owing to the drop in global oil prices, was the major reason for the persistent decline in the value of the naira against the dollar.
Emefiele, while speaking during an interview on the sidelines of a career conference in Abuja, said the Monetary Policy Committee of the CBN could not have taken a better decision in view of the current challenges facing the country.
The event, put together by The Everlasting Arms Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, had as its theme,” Your life, your future — not a laughing matter.”
The CBN governor who was responding to a question from journalists on the criticism of the CBN policy by eminent Nigerians, including the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, said it would be difficult for the apex bank to achieve price stability without the current monetary policy stance.
el-Rufai had on Wednesday faulted the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria to increase the Monetary Policy Rate from 12 per cent to 14 per cent.
He had said, “We have a Central Bank that has an MPR at 14 per cent and banks lending at 20 per cent. 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 the interest rate down, one day it would be legislated.”
Represented at the event by the Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, Mrs. Sarah Alade, the CBN governor said once the objective of price stability was achieved, the economy would begin to experience growth.
He said, “At this moment, what we are doing is what is best for the economy. The concern even among the youth is the slide in the value of the naira and I told them that we also need to diversify the economy so that we could have more exports; we are also supporting the efforts of the government on this. Once we are able to achieve this, we would have the kind of interest rate that we want.
“But at this particular time, to be able to get through the situation, we would have to take the decisions. And the Monetary Policy Committee considers all these factors before we take decisions.”
Earlier, the governor admonished the youth on the importance of hard work, dedication to excellence and perseverance in achieving one’s goal.
He said by imbibing these qualities, coupled with the requisite skills, they would be able to become great leaders in any area of their endeavours.