The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has assured Nigerians that the worst days are clearly behind them as the economy has turned the corner, after passing through recession.
Emefiele gave this assurance at Nsukka on Thursday while delivering the 47th convocation lecture of University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), titled, “A mindset for succeeding in Nigeria today.”
The CBN Governor recalled that the significant and persisting drop in commodity prices affected Nigeria’s economy quite adversely resulting in depressed GDP growth, rising inflation, depreciation of the exchange rate and decline in average inflows of foreign exchange into the CBN by over US$2.3 billion per month over a three-year period.
Emefiele said based on CBN’s analyses and understanding of these developments, the bank took a number of proactive measures many of which were, at the time, vigorously criticized including monetary policy review, external reserves and exchange rate management and development financing in key high-impact sectors like Power, Aviation, Education, MSME, Agriculture, including CACs, ACGS, NIRSAL, the Anchor Borrower Programme, among others.
“In light of these and other policy responses, we are delighted that the economy has turned the corner with our worst days clearly behind us. For example:
“GDP recovered after five quarters of continuous contraction recording positive growths of 0.7 and 1.4 percent in quarters two and three of 2017, respectively, and signalling an exit from the recession;
“Inflation declined from a peak of 18.7 percent in January 2017 to 15.9 in November;
“Exchange Rate appreciated significantly from over N525/US$1 in February 2017 to about N360/US$1 today, tapering premium across various windows and segments of the market;
“Foreign exchange Supply has improved since the establishment of the I&E Window, with autonomous inflows of over US$10 billion through this window alone from April 2017 to date;
“Foreign exchange Reserves has recovered significantly from a low of just over US$23 billion in October 2016 to about US$35.2 billion by November 27, 2017;
“Improvement in the World Bank’s “doing business indicators” for 2018 as Nigeria, with the country rising 24 places to rank 145 out of 190 countries” Emefiele said.
He said the economy has recorded a significant boost in Local Production which is due to CBN’s development finance efforts and the dogged implementation of its foreign exchange policies, adding that today, many local manufacturers are reporting major boosts to their revenue and profit.
He said the boost in local production is very important because of demographic factors, when Nigeria today is estimated to have a population of over 180 million people, with the United Nations predicting a rise in population to 398 million people in 2050, which would make Nigeria, the third largest in the World by that time.
According to Emefiele, these trends present a significant opportunity for our graduates to turn whatever challenge they may be facing into opportunities that could harness these demographic shifts.
“Imagine what would happen if Nigeria and Nigerians cannot provide food, shelter, clothing, health, education, and other basic things for this teeming population. Even though these trends should already begin to bother current leaders in our country today, I believe that young Nigerians can begin today to see these trends as opportunities and think of what they can do take advantage of the situation” he said.
Emefiele said he was delighted that there are many examples of young people who rather thancomplain about what the government did not do for them, identified common problems and needs of society and created a solution that has turned them into job-creators and millionaires.
He said a quick historical scan of other nations, especially advanced ones will reveal that notable strides in economic and political development occurred during periods of great challenges.
He said the United States as an example, he said it is on record that 16 out of the 30 corporations that currently constitute the Dow Jones Industrial Average including Walt Disney and Hewlett-Packard started during economic downturns.
Bringing him home to Nigeria, he said Jason Njoku, who today is a very wealthy young man, the founder of iRoko TV, when he launched his home-grown movie platform in December 2011, saw the gap in video rental business tecnology. Today that effort has metamorphosed into a full-blown TV service, just as Obinna Ekezie, established Wakanow.com as a home-grown novelty and Nigeria’s first digital travels platform, which has been reached out to by Tiger Global, a multi-billion-dollar American investment firm.