The Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele is well known around the business circles for his controversial policies especially as it relates to forex. He is also known for his apparent disposition towards pleasing his boss President Buhari even if it means him losing his independence as the Governor of the CBN.
Recently, the CBN Governor was the guest speaker at the annual bankers dinner where he reeled out the controversial proposal that the government imposes a tax on phone calls above 3 minutes. But before and after making those controversial comments, he stopped to reveal the side of him that he wants others to see. His speech opened and closed with what some of our analysts felt was rather bizarre pair of jokes. First in the opening remark and lastly at the closing .
Good evening ladies and gentlemen. The story was once told of a man who has been married to his wife for over 20 years and was very proud of how delicious his wife’s food always tastes. Wherever he went and whenever he could, this man would not miss an opportunity to boast about the cooking skills of his wife. One day, seeking to proof his many boasts, he invited some of his colleagues to dinner and asked the wife to make a meal.
Everyone arrived as expected, settled into couches, and were patiently chatting and waiting for the food. When dinner was eventually ready and served, they were invited up to the dinning table. This man was still boasting and talking about how nice the food would be. But to the disappointment of the guests and to the humiliation of the man, the meal was way too salty and the meat was not well cooked.
While the visitors were still making derisive and jeering comments at the man’s boastfulness, he angrily confronted his wife to explain why she could not make a nice meal this time around. Everyone held their breadths and waited for a logical explanation. But to their utter disbelieve, the wife simply said, “Sorry my husband, it is because of the CBN policy on the exchange rate!” As we speak, right now, many ﬁnancial analysts and market participants are running regressions to ﬁnd out exactly how the exchange rate made her use too much salt!
This reminds me of a story about Adam and Eve, who you recall, were alone in the Garden for quite some time. One morning, Adam left their home throughout the day and this made Eve very worried.
When Adam returned very late in the evening, Eve threw a barrage of questions at him. DespiteAdam’s insistence that he just went strolling, Eve was not convinced. As they lay in bed later that night, Adam woke up around 3am and noticed that Eve was restless and ﬁddling with his stomach area and trying to turn him on his side. When he asked, “What are you doing?” Eve retorted in a calm but stern voice, “you better lay up straight and allow me ﬁnish counting your ribs!”
So there you go. The CBN governor telling “jokes”. Interestingly, this provides analysts into the mind of a CBN governor who is thought to be isolated from realities.
In the first joke, the CBN Governor appears to be taking a jibe at analysts whom he referred to as “arm chair analysts” in the speech for blaming everything that’s happening in the kitchen and bedroom of ordinary Nigerians on the CBN.
On the second joke he touches on trust related issues, chiding critics for not placing their trust in him and other policy makers despite mounting evidence that none of his polices has worked so far.
The CBN will not have to face the more serious matter of dealing with a mounting recession that has now persisted to a 2.2% contraction in the third quarter of 2016.