The CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele has been under the radar lately for some of his forex policies. Understandably, the Emperor as we like to call him has an economy to protect and a currency to save. How he goes about it though, is open to anyone’s criticism. And that is what the Economist has just done.
In a scathing article, the website ripped into a hapless Emefiele suggesting he is incompetent and should perhaps be sacked. This may just be the most scathing opinion from a Western Media written about the Emperor since he became Governor over a year ago. See excerpts of the article
The hit list appears to have been drawn up by someone wandering around a home and a building site and randomly pointing at items. It includes Indian incense, toothpicks and wire rods as well as more obvious luxuries such as private jets (demand for which could be slashed by simply barring government officials from flying in them). It also includes basics such as rice and tinned fish. Nigeria does not produce enough of these things to feed itself, but no matter. The nation must be shielded from foreign sardines.
Economists find the policy baffling. Central banks usually prop up their currencies if they are worried about inflation, or allow them to devalue to depress imports and stimulate exports. Nigeria, by contrast, appears to be set on achieving both an uncompetitive exchange rate and higher inflation. Whereas many investors were impressed by the previous CBN governor, Lamido Sanusi, who was sacked for exposing corruption, they fret about the harm being inflicted by the current one. Some wonder which would be worse for Nigeria: allowing him to serve the remaining four years of his term or undermining the independence of the central bank by sacking him.