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Nigeria: Experts charge new CBN management to work with fiscal authorities

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Olayemi Cardoso takes over the daunting job of breathing fresh life into the monetary system, experts have charged him to work closely with the fiscal authority.

A professor of capital market at the Nasarawa State University, Prof. Uche Uwaleke said the CBN governor should work closely with the fiscal authority, especially the relevant government agencies, in carrying out the bank’s development finance functions whether in the agriculture or the small and medium enterprise (SME) space.

Uwaleke who spoke with The Guardian in an interview said, “I also expect the new CBN governor to pursue the mandate of monetary and price stability in the context of inclusive economic growth.

This entails deliberately engendering a low-interest environment, which promotes increased access to capital.”

He said this against the backdrop of the fact that monetary policy tightening has not been effective in taming inflation given the supply-side and non-monetary factors that also drive inflation.

He also advised the CBN boss to keep a close watch on the banking sector, which he said is still struggling with weak corporate governance issues.

“The banking sector still has traces of weak corporate governance. I expect Cardoso to step up CBN’s enforcement as well as overall banking supervision to ensure that the banks play by the rules, including those designed to maintain the stability in the exchange rate of the naira.

“The new CBN governor should move fast to sanitise bureau de change (BDC) segment of the forex market by compelling mergers and acquisitions through increased capital base requirements and setting new minimum operating standards,” he said.

On his part, Lead Director of the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), Eze Onyekpere, who is also an economist said there is no magic wand in monetary policy that would on its own revamp the economy without collaboration and contributions by fiscal, trade, labour, education and security policies.

He said, for instance, tackling food inflation will be impossible until the security apparatus restores security to farms in many parts of the federation.

“The first challenge will therefore be to seek harmony with other policy frameworks; seek to retain existing forex in the Nigerian banking system while attracting new ones,” he said.

He added: “He should nudge fiscal policy to invest in the key drivers of employment creation and growth while recovering the entire due multiple intervention funds issued out by the last CBN regime.”

He also advised that the new regime should promote the de-dollarisation idea through deliberate frameworks that reduce the nation’s dependence on the dollar as a means of exchange.

Also, Bismark Rewane said for the Nigerian economy to bounce back with a strong currency, the government must free it from the interest of a few rich people.

He said naira would be appreciated again but that such might not happen until the early part of 2024.

Rewane, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Monday, said that the government must allow the market to determine the exchange rate.

He said: “You have to believe in reform economics. If you don’t believe in it, then you can’t do anything about it. Secondly, you have to stop state capture; you can’t have oligarchs and barriers to entry. The economy must be freed from the oligarch’s interest.

“An oligarch interest means state capture, shifting state resources to private pockets and leading to inefficiencies. You must allow the market to determine pricing. By reducing subsidies on petroleum products, and reducing subsidies in exchange rates, those monies shift to the government. So, how is the government spending the money coming their way?”

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