By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has expressed dismay at campaigns allegedly being sponsored by those it called “self-centred individuals” aimed at discrediting its foreign exchange policies.
The apex bank, in a statement issued by its spokesman, Mr Isaac Okorafor, on Friday, lamented that it has “observed with great concern the continued and unwarranted attack” on its policies by a group of Nigerians.
According to the CBN, the real interests of these people “are anything near altruistic but rather self-serving and unpatriotic.”
The statement noted that the bank finds it curious that certain interests have “remained persistent in their move to misinform the larger public, with the intention of discrediting genuine efforts at managing the economy, thereby creating public distrust and panic within the financial system.”
However, the apex bank maintained that nothing will make it change these policies.
According to the CBN, intelligence reports at its disposal reveal the “involvement of some unpatriotic elements funding the push to have the CBN and the Federal Government reverse its FOREX policy, which is aimed at conserving foreign exchange, stimulating agriculture and manufacturing and also promoting exports.”
“The present economic challenges that we face have been worsened by our past practice of frittering away huge earnings made from oil sales, over the years.
“As we have explained severally, our decisions on FOREX management are prompted by the challenge posed by the level of depletion of the country’s reserves, arising from issues such as a drastic reduction in oil earnings, speculative attacks and round tripping,” the CBN explained.
“It is pertinent to note that pressures on the country’s foreign reserves have persisted due to a huge fall in the monthly foreign earnings, which fell from over $3.2 billion sometime in 2013 to below $500 million per month sometime in 2016, when the demand for the US dollar, particularly by importers, continued to rise considerably.
“In spite of the challenges and the basic economic fact that countries earn dollars from international trade, we have ensured we meet the genuine demand of importers to pay for eligible imports and other transactions within available resources.
“Furthermore, the Bank has continued to ensure that there is liquidity and transparency in the FOREX market.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) continues to:
- Ensure that inflation remains within manageable limits;
- Intervene in critical sectors of the economy, through injection of much-needed capital to promote growth and employment;
iii. Promote export-driven industrialisation;
- Provide access to credit to farmers and small scale entrepreneurs at single digit rates, to create wealth;
- Protect the interest of Bank customers in Nigeria; and above all,
- Ensure that the masses of our country’s low income earners are protected from the vagaries of high naira depreciation.
“Despite our positive efforts, some persons and groups have chosen to play to the gallery by focusing on negativity that does the country no good.
“Nevertheless, in line with our mandate and working with the fiscal authorities, we will continue to ensure monetary and price stability as well as maintain external reserves to safeguard the international value of the Naira.
“While leaving our doors open for genuine partnership with all our stakeholders, we will only take economic decisions that will impact positively on the lives of all Nigerians,” the statement said.
The apex bank urged “all concerned to be more patriotic and contribute to the soundness of the Nigerian economy; rather than engage in acts capable of undermining the efforts being made at moving the country out of the current economic situation.”
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