Emefiele blasts Gov Yari over comments on economy

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has faulted the alarm raised by governors that Nigeria may fall into recession anytime from next year if adequate measures are not put in place soonest.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Abdulaziz Yari had during a three-day retreat for returning governors and governors-elect in Abuja on Monday urged the incoming governors to brace for another round of recession.

Speaking at the public presentation of the Spring 2019 edition of Regional Economic Outlook (REO) by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Abuja on Tuesday, CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, represented by the Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, Dr. Joseph Nnanna, said the economy was doing well and will do better before the end of the year.

He said, “We are making smooth progress towards growth and by end of 2019, all things being equal, we are going to likely have between 2.8 per cent and three per cent GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth rate,” he said.

He explained that since the third quarter of 2016, when Nigeria started coming out of recession, the CBN had embarked on tight monetary policy in all its ramifications.

“Right now, we are on the path of achieving our price stability goal of single-digit inflation. Are we going to witness increased inflation or are we sliding back into recession? My answer is no. But is that adequate? My answer is no. Three per cent GDP real growth rate is not enough for Nigeria where our population growth rate is 3.2 per cent. Per capita growth rate is still negative but definitely, we are not going through the era of 2016 when we had a recession. That won’t happen – hopefully. Not under CBN watch.”

Speaking earlier, the Director, African Department at IMF, Mr. Abebe Selassie, urged the Nigerian government “to keep inflation down and also grow the non-oil revenue, if the economy must perform optimally. The IMF chief said that its projected 2.1 per cent growth for the Nigerian economy in 2019, “doesn’t reflect the potentials of Nigeria”.

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“Nigeria needs to maximise its potentials and grow its non-oil revenue. Non-oil revenue is too small, about four per cent to GDP, thus it’s important for government to generate more resources to meet infrastructural deficit,’’ he said.