CBN blames elite, others for forex scarcity, says Nigerians spend over £2b on foreign education

CBN promises to maintain price stability, external reserves to safeguard Naira
United Bank for Africa

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has blamed the elite who preferred imported materials to local ones for the foreign exchange (forex) crisis, which has contributed immensely to the nation’s current economic woes.

The apex bank, through its Governor, Godwin Emefiele, lamented that Nigerians spend not less than £2 billion annually on their children studying abroad, which is at detriment of the country’s educational sector growth.

Speaking at the National Institute for Policy and Strategy Studies (NIPSS), shortly after he delivered a lecture titled “Managing Monetary Policy in Turbulent Time,” the CBN governor wondered why the bank is often condemned whenever it takes decisions to reposition the Nigerian economy.

Emefiele advised Nigerians to look inwards in order to come out of the present economic predicament.

Reacting to the continuous criticism of the CBN’s foreign exchange policies, he said, “When you introduce a new policy and people do not complain, then that policy is not working. But when policies are introduced and people are shouting and complaining, then the policies have reached the right place.

“It means the policy is working. We should not use our hands to destroy ourselves, we should not use our hands to kill ourselves,” he said.

It would recall that the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.Sanusi, a former CBN Governor, had at the 15th Joint National Council on Development Planning meeting in Kano, criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s endorsement of CBN’s foreign exchange policies, adding that it encourages corruption.

He, however, urged the Federal Government to end its policy of trying to maintain the value of the naira, stressing that the drawbacks of the policy “far outweigh its dubious benefits.”

But Emefiele has pointed out that it was better to provide creative advice that would help the economy than sitting back and criticising.

He said: “It is easy to criticise from outside but my advice is not to sit back in a garden and call press men and begin to raise criticisms that are untrue and unsubstantiated.

“We need advice of former CBN governors, there are channels they can use but not sit in their garden and call pressmen to raise criticism and say what is not true”, Emefiele reacted.

Meanwhile, the country’s foreign external reserves fell to $25.41billion as at August 31, 2016 compared to $26.44 billion it stood on June 20 this year, shedding a total sum of $1.02 billion in three months, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) statistics data has shown.

The apex bank latest figure showed that the foreign exchange reserve stood at $25.78 billion as of August 16, which was decline of about 2.11 percent when compared to the previous month data.

This, however, was linked to the incessant dollar sales by the apex bank to boost interbank liquidity and support the local currency, naira As the CBN has been selling dollars almost daily on the interbank market to prop up the currency.

The Africa’s largest economy dollar reserves stood at $26.20 billion at the end of July, an indication that the reserves had declined 18.9 percent compared to the corresponding month in 2015.

The CBN has been selling dollars regularly at the interbank market to prop up the naira since it floated it on June 20. The currency touched an all-time low of 365.25 per dollar on August 18 at the official market.