The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele has told critics of government policies that they do not love the country more than the government. He stressed that the bank’s foreign exchange, forex, policy is in the interest of the masses.
The Chairman of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr. Atedo Peterside, had stated that the rudderless economic policies of the Federal Government failed to fix the economy.
Speaking at the 14th Daily Trust Dialogue titled, “Economic Recession: Towards a Resilient Economy”, Peterside said that the economy has lost direction and that it is only those in the government that can understand the development that has scared investors.
He listed some pitfalls in the policy like failure to reach a compromise on the Niger Delta debacle, inability to completely break away from past methods of running government and haphazard measures in the reforms of key sectors of the economy.
According to the Stanbic IBTC boss, “The directive to banks to allocate 60 per cent of forex to manufacturers who account for only 10 per cent of GDP has exacerbated an already bad supply situation.
“Forty percent is much too small to accommodate the rest of the economy and so all other sectors have been crippled, including the service sector, which accounts for over 50 per cent of GDP.
“This has unleashed panic, thereby sending the parallel market to the high heavens. Forex inflows disappeared partly because of the uncertainty surrounding the ability to repatriate interest/dividends through an overly restrictive 40 per cent window.”
In his defence at the forum held on Thursday, Emefiele said that some of the points raised are not only contestable, but are out of point. He stressed that the priority of the apex bank is to serve the interest of the masses, because of love for the country.
He explained, “In the midst of low oil prices, heavily depleted reserves, what can we do? We can only but manage the limited resources and that is why we will continue to do our best.
“Our priority today would be Nigerian masses, Nigerians and no other person. Within the limited resources at our disposal, we will continue to give emphasis to those who want to import raw materials.
“We will give emphasis to those who want to deploy plants and equipment that will help this country.
“We will direct support and emphasis to those who are going into agriculture, who are importing agricultural raw materials and implements because we love our country”.
The CBN governor however stated that government will look into some of the points raised, insisting that the government was doing its best to take the economy out of the woods.