Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday reacted to the recession alarm raised by Zamfara State governor and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) Abdulaziz Yari.
Yari had during the opening of a three-day retreat for returning governors and governors-elect in Abuja on Monday, warned of an impending recession by mid-2020.
Yari said that the governors had unanimously agreed that borrowing could not be a reliable solution to the country’s economic problems.
However, the CBN Governor Mr. Godwin Emefiele, dismissed the governors’ claims at the public presentation of the Spring 2019 edition of Regional Economic Outlook (REO) by International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Abuja.
Emefiele who was represented by the apex bank’s Deputy Governor for Economic Policy, Dr. Joseph Nnanna, said the country is unlikely to go into recession as according to him, the economy will continue to grow.
“We are making smooth progress towards growth and by end of 2019, all things being equal, we are going to likely have between 2.8% and 3% GDP growth rate,” he said.
“Since the third quarter of 2016, when we started coming out of recession, we have embarked on tight monetary policy in all its ramifications. Right now, we are on the path of achieving our price stability goal of single digit inflation.
‘’Are we going to witness increased inflation or are we sliding back into recession? My answer is no. But is that adequate? My answer is no. 3% GDP real growth rate is not enough for Nigeria where our population growth rate is 3.2%.
The governor maintained that although per capita growth was still in the negative, the country would not return to where it was in 2016.
“Per capita growth rate is still negative but definitely, we are not going through the era of 2016 when we had a recession. That won’t happen hopefully. Not under CBN watch.”
He said the major problem affecting the labour sector was more of underemployment than outright unemployment because, according to him, majority of Nigerians are employed one way or another but they are functioning below capacity.
“They are engaged in the informal sector which is not performing optimally. We also have a huge infrastructure deficit.
“Infrastructure is the major constrain to economic development and growth. This has to be repaired.”
He urged the governors and other policy makers to tackle the menace of non-inclusive growth because it is inclusive growth that we need in Nigeria than any other thing.