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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Good luck to the CBN Governor

On November 6, 2021, I posted, “The Federal Reserve System (FED) in the United States from various sources is embarking on tapering, that is, trimming bond purchases over an extended period.”

In trying to guess the possible effects on Nigeria, I wrote among others, “(g) the ripple effect on us as a nation is that dollar to the Naira could be as high as N700 – N1,000 before the end of 2022 (God forbid).”

Today is May 19, 2022. Naira is now N600/$1 at the Parallel Market. Just about a hundred to the minimum I predicted. In other climes, the person who performs a critical role in the value chain of regulating foreign exchange regimes would be in a somber mood and looking for solutions. No! Not here.

In contrast, His Excellency  Godwin Emefiele was appointed the Central Bank Governor of Nigeria on June 4, 2014. In January 2014, Naira was N173/$1 in the parallel market. Unfortunately, when Naira was crashing, what was uppermost on Emefiele’s agenda was becoming the President of the same nation; he could not defend its currency. During campaigns, what would he tell Nigerians?

We have found ourselves in this situation which could be likened to the famous saying that “Nero fiddled while Rome burned.” The simple meaning of the saying is that instead of Nero being serious-minded, and seeking how to reverse the adverse fortunes of his countrymen and women, Nero was busy playing music and marrying. Is that not what is happening to us today?

It does not matter how much those in the governance straddle of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) since 2014 keep justifying the negative economic indices passed on to them by the last administration; or the socio-economic challenges encountered between then and the end of the tenure of the CBN Governor. What matters is what did you meet and what are you leaving behind? That is, what was the Naira/Dollar parity when Emefiele took over in 2014 and where was it when he bade farewell to the CBN?

For my prediction not to come true as a novice in economic matters, the CBN Governor should strive hard to ensure that this is the worst we could ever get. He should galvanize all the sectors to work and wake the slumbering Naira.

On the reverse side, I find it hard to solely blame Emefiele and his co-travelers. I also blame us-the people. We fear to speak out for several reasons.

As serious as I thought that post was, only Dr. Bonnyface Opia reacted and said, “Ominous,” and shared by a friend, Agnes Onah. The implication is that we prefer to share posts that shall add no value to our collective endeavour and existence because we do not want to lose friends in government or a political party.

We forget that nobody shall be safe when the sky shall descend on the earth by way of the N/$ reaching N700 – N1,000 to the Dollar. You may not have a child abroad, but I tell you most solemnly, if we got there, we shall all pay the bitter price. Soon, some of the Presidential candidates shall tell us they will make N/$ at par within hundred days of their being sworn.  Trust us, we shall believe them.

Can Emefiele and his team reverse the trend? I do not have the answer. May be the economists in the house do.

Good luck to the CBN Governor as he embarks on the arduous task of rewriting his name in gold in the annals of the CBN history. 

Grace and peace!!!

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