What is in the mind of Nigeria’s chief banker? How does he intend to turn things around in the apex bank for the benefit of the economy which seriously needs serious intervention in the face of the surging inflation and volatility in the forex market, amongst others?
That seems to be the biggest question on the lips of keen financial sector watchers after the CBN postponed the monthly Monetary Policy Committee, MPC, meeting for the second time on Monday.
Speaking on the postponement on Monday, Abdulmumin Isa, spokesman for the bank said his boss is not ready to hold the MPC now. Rather, the apex bank spokesman said what is uppermost in the mind of Cardoso for the moment is the success of the upcoming Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, CIBN, conference.
“The Monetary Policy Committee meeting is not holding this week. All roads lead to the 2023 CIBN annual dinner slated for Friday, 24th,” Abdulmumin said.
The question some industry watchers are asking is why the CBN has refused to prioritize the MPC meeting at a time when it’s expected to use the platform to underscore how it intends to handle the economic problems facing the country at the moment, such as the surging inflation as well as the volatility in the forex market.
Inflation has risen to an all-time high of over 27 percent, according to figures provided by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, NBC, at the end of October. The nation’s currency, Naira is currently being exchanged for N800 and N1000 to the American dollar at the official and parallel market, respectively.
“These are the serious issues that are supposed to draw the attention of a serious CBN leadership. Local and foreign investors are waiting for Cardoso and his team to outline his agenda. No other forum to do that than at the MPC,” Kola Adedeji, a financial analyst said on Tuesday.
The CIBN forum christened ‘Governors Day’ is where the CBN governor will address stakeholders on his short-term and long-term policies for the economy, sources in the apex bank said.
The path that the apex bank has chosen seems not to be appealing to industry stakeholders who said Cardoso must buckle up by using the appropriate forum to unveil his plan for the economy.
Muda Yusuf, a former President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, said Cardoso should stop keeping Nigerians guessing about his plans for the CBN.
He said the fact the MPC meeting has not been held “means there is a lack of communication,” in CBN, “Monetary policy communication is important to guide investors,” according to the former LCCI boss.
Yusuf said time is running out for the CBN to explain its direction to Nigerians.
He said, “The most challenging issue is the foreign exchange and they have been taking some steps even without meeting trying to clear the backlog, which is commendable.
“The MPC gives information about the economy and the direction they are going, so the fact they haven’t met means there is a lack of communication.
“Monetary policy communication is important to guide investors and to that extent, it is important to have those meetings. Though it won’t change our current inflation rate.”
Not a few insist that the Cardoso team is confused about how to handle the issue of the monetary policy rate, why others have raised his issues about his capacity as CBN governor.
Babachir Lawal, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, questioned the qualification of Cardoso, saying his curriculum vitae is ‘patch-patch’.
The former federal government scribe said Cardoso was not qualified to occupy the office of the CBN governor.
Lawal said, “As to his Central Bank Governor, in my response to APC (All Progressives Congress) when they decided to take me on, I mentioned that the President had a Central Bank Governor with ‘patch-patch’ CV.
“I said ‘patch-patch’ CV because he was the commissioner of planning in Lagos State, a very small state out of the 36 states we have. It is a big economy but you cannot say he has enough experience to be in that position as the Central Bank governor.
“They also went on to say that he was a chairman of a bank with 13 branches, and that doesn’t give him sufficient exposure – a bank with 13 branches. I mentioned that they are all located around Lagos with two branches in Lagos, Warri, Benin City, and all that,” he said
The last time the MPC held was in July under embattled former CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
The meeting had kept the monetary policy rate at 18.75 percent. (The Source)