CBN: Pioneering A Resilient And Sustainable Economy In Nigeria

CBN: Pioneering A Resilient And Sustainable Economy In Nigeria
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Rev Solomon Semaka

The banking system as we have it now has evolved over time from ancient times shortly after the era of trade by barter. The use of cowries, shells, copper, bronze, brass, silver and gold required a system of management and control. Wealthy Individuals controlled the value of the money available. This meant a lot of inconsistencies in the value placed on money and what it can buy. Modern paper money economies have tried to evolve a more standard way of controlling and managing money but a lot of internal and external factors make this difficult.

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World economies have always experienced challenges springing from poor management of financial institutions and faulty monetary policies. No country is left out of these crises. When these happen, it sometimes requires international efforts and collaboration to get the economies working again. The 2007 economic crisis was the severest of them all in recent times after the Great Depression of the early 1930s. For many countries especially in the developing world, the COVID-19 pandemic came at a time they were trying to rebuild their economies after surmounting the devastating crisis that started in 2007.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, the institution saddled with the responsibility of formulating and implementing fiscal policies under amiable Governor Mr. Godwin Emiefele has been amazing in handling the Nigerian economy since he was appointed. The sterling performance of the Central Bank before, during, and after the first and second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is next to none and the best in the whole African continent. While world economies were shrinking, the Nigerian economy managed to stay strong because of robust and resilient policies that were put in place. These policies enabled small and medium enterprises(SMEs) and households to stay afloat and continue their productive activities. Several loans and grants were rolled and the response of Nigerians was that of gratitude as shown in the speed with which they’re paying back. This has made funds for more beneficiaries and more interventions.

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Just recently the CBN in partnership with Nirsal Microfinance Bank rolled out the Non-interest component of the Targeted Credit Facility(TCF). The excitement of Nigerians was palpable. To think of a credit facility without interest attached is something unheard of I’m Nigeria before, at least not from the CBN. The application and processing of all these facilities are seamlessly done online with no stress at all. This is what we get if the right people are I’m positions of authority and Emiefele is one of such innovative and dynamic economic leaders. The multiplier effect of this is that more Nigerians are formalising their businesses and placing them at par with similar businesses the world over. Nigeria’s balance of payment deficit and other areas of trade deficit will soon be a thing of the past.

Just before the applause over the Non-interest TCF will die down, the Central Bank wowed Nigerians with the Tertiary Institutions Entrepreneurship Scheme (TIESS). The jubilation was loud as the society season media almost caught fire. Nigerian youths have never had it this good before. The National Youth Investment Fund which was strictly for the youth is still running. Start-up funds are disbursed daily and then this mind-blowing scheme also for the youth, called TIESS. Very soon Nigerian students won’t have to graduate and look for jobs, thanks to the leadership of President Buhari and his diligent CBN Governor, Mr. Emiefele.

For the first time in the history of the world, the Central Bank of Nigeria under Godwin Emiefele has launched an e-currency. The e-Naira is not a digital currency like Bitcoin and Ethereum. It is a digital representation of the paper Naira and coexists with it as an additional form of Money. The possibilities for this innovation are endless. Trust Nigerians, one day after it was launched, the Google Play store was almost brought down because of the rush to download the app and register. The Central Bank is taking advantage of the internet penetration in Nigeria and the love Nigerians have for online payments to meet them more than halfway in their business and personal transactions. Mr. Emiefele deserves a standing ovation for what he is doing as the head of the bankers’ bank.

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Mention must be made of yet another laudable and sustainable initiative by the Central Bank and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) tagged Youth Empowerment Development Programme (YEDP) in partnership with First City Monument Bank (FCMB). This is meant to empower Corps members who have passed out from the scheme having acquired entrepreneurship training to start up something on their own and be employers of labour. It is worthy to note that entrepreneurship development has become an integral part of National Service. Therefore, cashing on this already existing structure to make life better for the Nigerian youth is the most prudent thing any corporate organisation can do and the CBN under the leadership of a financial czar in the person of Godwin Emiefele has done just that.

The only collateral that will be required will be their discharge certificate. This is commendable and hopefully, will come to pass shortly. This is what every country that is poised to wade through economic hardship is supposed to do. Investment in the development of the youth is the best investment any county can think of especially now that youth unemployment is getting out of hand. The CBN must be encouraged to make this initiative sustainable to stimulate economic growth and empower people. This will go a long way in curtailing crime and other vices in the society.

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The innovations and stability recorded in Nigeria’s commercial banks are assuring. No Nigerian bank is distressed because of the sound monetary policy of the CBN its oversight functions. The era of banks folding up and crashing is over. Nigerians can go to bed without worrying about their funds being trapped in banks. Similarly, strict regulations to safeguard the customer are being initiated and monitored by the CBN via so many online channels. No commercial bank or their dubious staff can swindle any customer of their hard-earned money because the eyes of the law are watching.

While calling on Nigerians to support the Central Bank, its leadership, and the government of President Buhari, it is pertinent to state that evil men do not love to see good things happen and will do everything in their power to discredit those who are winning. Nigerians must not pay heed to their antics as and derail the financial revolution currently going on in the country.

Solomon Semaka is a public affairs commentator and convener, Save Nigeria Movement.

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