Following the motion to investigate the Central Bank of Nigeria’s forex policies and the sack of Emefiele and team last week, in a motion sponsored by Hon. Ali Isa representing Balanga/Billiri constituency of Gombe State and supported by other representatives, it seemed that the time was up on the CBN governor’s tenure.
However, indications coming from the Office of the President show that President Buhari is yet to be convinced that Emefiele is responsible for the freefall of the Naira as a result of his policies. The reports further suggest that Buhari believes that Emefiele can actually pull Nigeria out of the recession.
According to the sources, President Muhammadu Buhari “is far from convinced that Emefiele is responsible for the currency crisis or the economic recession”.
“The CBN Governor briefs the President regularly on the situation, on the inflow of dollars every month and how much is being demanded by importers. The President has seen the progression and regression over the years and how the scarcity of forex is causing the sharp drop in the value of the Naira. He believes it is very unreasonable to sack Emefiele and CBN management,” said the official, who declined being named because he was not mandated to officially speak on the issue.
According to Punch Newspapers, the confidence of the President in Emefiele is borne out of the constant communication between the both of them with Emefiele convincing President Buhari that the problem had evolved when the oil prices were high and revenue was also high.
The refusal of the administration back then to check the excessive dependence on imports and thus the large demand for forex eventually led to the forex scarcity and the free fall of the Naira. Accordingly, the President “is not convinced that now that crude oil price is less than $50 and production has dropped drastically because of militant activities, Emefiele should be blamed for the falling Naira”.
Another reason why Emefiele has the backing of the President is due to the positive interventions of the CBN since the crisis began to stabilise the finances of states and the Federal Government. Loans of over N420 billion to several states to pay workers’ salaries in the last two years, outside their statutory allocations, N10 billion for infrastructure development collected by each of the 36 states, and the N350 billion “stimulus spending” recently announced by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, provided by the Central Bank are being considered as positive moves by the apex bank.
In addition, Punch Newspapers reports that the source said “Everything you hear about agric revolution in rice is from the CBN. Kebbi alone is on track to produce one million metric tonnes this year under the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme. So far, 14 states have collected huge sums for this programme to pursue other crops”, the official said.
How long the confidence of President Buhari in Emefiele will last and how much positive impact the economy will benefit from it is anybody’s guess.