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Broad Street excited over Emefiele’s reappointment

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Economic analysts and industry players have hailed the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to reappoint Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele for second term.

The president had on Wednesday, signed a letter for Emefiele’s tenure renewal which BusinessHallmark learnt has already been sent to the Senate for confirmation.

By the CBN Act, the senate must confirm the nomination before it can take effect.

Emefiele was first appointed in 2014 by former president Goodluck Jonathan and was retained by Buhari when he took office in 2015.

This will be the first time since 1999, when Nigeria returned to democracy, that anyone would be nominated to serve two terms as CBN governor. And analysts say it is a positive news given that it would guarantee policy consistency and continuity.

“I believe appointing him for second term is better than bringing in a new person,” said Dr. Vincent Nwani, business and investment consultant. “As they say, the devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know. The thing is, if you are bringing somebody else, you might end up with someone who can’t do the job, it’s a 50-50 chance.”

Dr. Nwani noted that from what Emefiele has done in the past five years, his reappointment will be received positively by businesses as according to him, it means there would be no volatility.

“We have seen what he is able to do for the last five years. It is a positive news for businesses. The uncertainty that would have come with a new person is out. We are not going to see volatility in foreign exchange for example.”

Emefiele has in the past five years, done the difficult job of steering a troubled economy. The country witnessed a recession in 2016, a second time in three decades. And within the same period, the naira lost over 100 percent of its value to the dollar.

But Emefiele laboured to ensure the country sailed through the most difficult times. Stability is returning in the exchange rate, inflation is down and foreign reserve is growing again after it went down in the lead up to the 2019 polls.

“It is good news for the economy. The fear was that given the way things have been done in the past, whether other interests would supersede. But the truth is that you can’t fight success. There is success on ground. We might not have reached El Dorado but we we on the right track,” noted financial consultant and former banker, Dr. Boniface Chizea

“We have stability in foreign exchange. Inflation rate is coming down. It was once at about 18 percent, but now it is about 11 percent. And you look at the reserve, it is almost getting to $50billion. You look at all these indices and you have to give him credit.

“When you consider the developmental strides in the Central Bank, they are just just fantastic. You look at the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, you look at what they are doing for financial institutions. You can’t see all these and not want him to continue.

“Our fear was that sentiments may come into, but it’s a good thing that such didn’t happen. If they had made a change, they would have created some instability. The new person will not continue what the man is doing. He would want to change a few things and people would want to take advantage and that might not be to the best interest of the economy.”

But for an economy that grew only at 1.9 percent in 2018, a big low even within the sub-region, and with a population growth of over 3 percent, even the most optimistic observers agree that a lot more has to be done by the Buhari government beyond retaining Emefiele to improve the country’s economic fortunes.

“What I can’t say, however, is to what extent it is going to impact generally on the economy,” Dr. Nwani emphasised. “But in terms of maintaining stability, the reappointment is the right thing to do.”

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“I can’t assess whether it is a good move or not because we don’t know the policies of this government economically, said Mr. Emeka Madubuike, a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers of Nigeria (CIS). “From the capital market, we don’t see the effect. So, it’s neither here nor there.

‘For purposes of consistency, it makes sense. But it is a question of whether you have people who want to do something differently and to make a difference. Because we need policies that will transform the economy. We cannot continue along the same path.”

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