Monday, June 2, 2014

Expectations high as Emefiele assumes office as CBN boss

Godwin Emefiele CBN GovNigerian business com­munity has been speaking on its expec­tations as the new Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) gov­ernor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, assumes office tomorrow June 3, 2014, as its substan­tive helsman.
Emefiele, who is coming from Mainstream bank after over 24 years of active practice will have his hands full with monetary policy and admin­istrative challenges left by the controversial suspension of his predecessor, Mallam Lamido Sanusi
But despite such challenges many believe that Emefiele is the right man for the job. His effort taking Zenith Bank to the enviable height it stands today clearly speaks volumes about his professional competence, even though the leadership of the CBN is a different kettle of fish that would certainly pose headache to the governor-designate.
But ahead of his assump­tion, Nigerians, including economy and financial experts have been setting agenda and expectations for the new CBN governor to build on the suc­cesses recorded by his prede­cessor, especially in attaining a workable monetary policy, ensure the gains of price and exchange rate stability are pre­served and therefore maintain the previous regime’s hawkish stance.
They expect, for instance, that he should bring on board policies that will stimulate the economy and create jobs.
According to the CEO, Economic Associates, a Lagos economic consultancy, Dr. Ayo Teriba, Emefiele should strike a balance between monetary tightening and employment.
He said: “My message to him is that he should stop focusing on financial vari­ables and financial markets. CBN should broaden its view to focus on the economy. It should focus on real economic growth, spending growth and household spending and con­sumption.”
Teriba advised that before tightening liquidity, the CBN should make sure that it’s stance does not slow employ­ment. “A situation where the CBN just focuses on inflation and exchange rate when unem­ployment level has doubled, will leave Nigeria as the loser,” he insisted.
But the Managing Director, Financial Derivatives Compa­ny Limited, Mr. Bismarck Re­wane, argues it would be dif­ficult for him to comment on Emefiele’s school of thought in terms of macroeconomic policies.
He, however, said he was sure that the in-coming CBN governor would do well in terms of banking regulation. “I am comfortable that he won’t tolerate risky bets and he will make sure that banks are well regulated. But I cannot put him in any particular school of thought in terms of macroeco­nomic policies. If he is a mon­etarist, he will control money supply and inflation.
“If you are not in a school of thought of economists, you will not follow any school of thought, you will only listen to the information you get and act on it,” he said.
Speaking to newsmen re­cently, former Group Manag­ing Director, Skye Bank Plc, Akinsola Akinfemiwa, said Emefiele is a right choice for the job considering his wealth of experience garnered over the years in the sector. Describ­ing him a seasoned banker that has been around, he said the new CBN governor-designate is a team member in most de­cision taken at Bankers’ Com­mittee where he had the privi­lege of serving in some of the sensitive committees.
In its contribution, Afrinvest, a research and investment firm in Lagos, said Nigerians expect the new governor’s primary objective will be to ensure the gains in price and exchange rate stability are preserved and therefore maintain the previous regime’s hawkish stance. “In view of the 2015 campaign spending, we anticipate further liquidity tightening by an addi­tional increase in the CRR on public sector deposit to 100.0 per cent before the end of 2014 and a subsequent reduction post the 2015 election.
“Also, in view of further stimulus tapering in the US and the expected end to Quantita­tive Easing (QE) in November 2014, we foresee further capi­tal reversals, hence mounting more pressure on the Naira in the mid-term. This presents the CBN with the daunting task of either increasing the MPR (by 50bps) to moderate capi­tal flow reversals or permit the devaluation of the Naira to prevent further depletion of the reserves. The former may be the preferred so as to prevent inflationary pressure due to the import dependent nature of the Nigerian economy.