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I have a very difficult job, Cardoso tells Catholic bishops



CBN bans foreign currency as collateral for naira loan

Mr. Yemi Cardoso, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has told the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria that his job is the second most difficult job globally.

This is as he assured Nigerians of the country’s imminent economic recovery despite challenges.

The CBN governor who at the 2024 First Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria in Abuja, on Sunday, noted that his job is the second most difficult globally.

He, however, expressed confidence in Nigeria’s ability to overcome economic woes

“I will continue to remember that in spite of (my job) the second most difficult job on the face of the planet, this is really something that remains very memorable,” he said.

“As a result of some of the recent reports from the CBN, over the course of the last week, about $1.8bn came into the markets.

“As long as the country can sustain a positive trajectory, Nigeria will get out of its economic woes and the foreign exchange market will begin to moderate itself.”

Addressing the need for economic diversification, Cardoso emphasised the importance of transitioning from a consumer to a producer nation.

The CBN governor added that an attempt to merge the official rate with the black market rate had been made.

According to him, the difference between the two is now significantly lower.

He further said one of the problems of economic advancement in Nigeria is finding ways to move as a country beyond being a consumer nation and shelf appetite for foreign goods.

“There is a positive outlook on that. The positive outlook comes from the fact that a series of reforms have been made by the Federal Government and the Central Bank, which are now paying off in such a way that international investors are coming back in again.

“You have got to move as a country beyond being a consumer nation. And it is something that we as Nigerians have been talking about for so long, but really, we’ve not been able to actualize it.

“The other thing, of course, is to moderate appetite for foreign goods. And that’s closely related to what I had said earlier with respect to becoming a producer nation because, at the end of the day, many of the things you see and many of the things that bother a lot of people with respect to foreign exchange are all essentially down to demand and supply,” Cardoso said.

He disclosed that the CBN will soon hold the Monetary Policy Committee meeting, noting that very critical decisions will be made to continue making the economy more investor-friendly.

Nigeria facing serious humanitarian crisis — Catholic Bishops


Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria used the occasion to dissect the state of the nation and concluded that hardship is paralysing socioeconomic lives in communities and hunger causing a serious humanitarian crisis.

The Catholic Bishops lamented that Nigeria was in her worst times in terms of insecurity, economy, and corruption, and called for sincere, accountable, and collective effort to halt the current slide and steer her towards a more secure and prosperous future.

The CBCN President, Archbishop Lucius Ugorji, issued a stark assessment of the current situation in the country, describing it as the ‘ worst of times,’ particularly with regard to security and the economy, and described the state of affairs in the nation as tumultuous.

The Archbishop drew attention to the stark realities facing Nigerians, emphasizing the persistent insecurity and economic turmoil, despite substantial security votes. “If we cast a cursory glance at the present state of our nation, we are inclined to conclude that this seems to be the worst of times for our country in the areas of security and the economy,” he said.

According to him, kidnappings for ransom, senseless killings, and the rise of banditry have left communities across Nigeria in the grip of fear and paralysis.

“Unarmed citizens are brutally slaughtered on our highways, in their homes and even in the sacred precincts of places of worship. Killer herdsmen, bandits and unknown gunmen seem to be on rampage. ‘’Many communities across the nation have been taken over completely by criminals. Families have lost their ancestral lands to armed invaders and land-grabbers,” the Archbishop lamented.

He emphasized the severity of the situation where citizens were brutally attacked in what should be sanctuaries of peace.

In the same vein, the Archbishop criticized the government’s reform agenda, which has led to the withdrawal of fuel subsidies and a steep decline in naira’s value. His words: “The reform agenda of the present government has added to the plight of Nigerians. With the withdrawal of fuel subsidies and the unification of the foreign exchange market, there has been a sharp increase in the pump price of petroleum products and a steep decline in the value of the naira. “Indeed, there is a free fall of the national currency. High, spiralling inflation has made it difficult for the average Nigerian to access basic commodities, including food items and medication.

“As a result of the government’s reform agenda, millions of Nigerians have been reduced to a life of grinding poverty, wanton suffering, and untold hardship as never before in our national history. In a bid to survive, an increasing number of the poor have resorted to begging.”

The CBCN President also touched upon the government’s lavish spending amid a population crippled by poverty, saying “as the government demands additional sacrifice from the struggling masses, one would expect to see a drastic cut in the cost of running the government at all levels. “On the contrary, it is worrisome to watch top government functionaries living by the sweat, toil and tears of the poor. They continue spending huge public funds on ostentatious and luxurious lifestyles and seem incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor. “It is no less worrisome to note that corruption among many public servants has gone beyond scale and measure corruption.

“Corruption is a complex reality involving moral rottenness, defilement and loss of integrity. In Nigeria, it spans a wide spectrum, ranging from book- cooking, foreign exchange (FX) arbitrage, over-pricing, and over- invoicing to embezzlement, money laundering, forgery, and all sorts of manipulation.”

Condemning the rampant corruption and mismanagement of resources, the Archbishop underscored the plight of Nigerian youth, many of whom are unemployed and resort to drugs, alcohol, or emigration in desperation.

Archbishop Ugorji, who called attention to the longterm consequences of such a loss of human capital, said further that, “The situation is worsened by the high unemployment rate in the country. Many of our youths are deeply wounded and degraded by unemployment and poverty, which make them feel rejected by the very society into which they were born.

“Consequently, thousands of them seek relief from drugs and alcohol and eventually end up in violent crimes. In search of greener pastures, many others try to migrate to foreign lands where hard times often await them.

“Regrettably, an extensive brain drain continues in this way in our nation, where manpower is needed to revamp the ailing economy and foster national development. In the midst of the frenzy to Japa abroad for better job opportunities, many young Nigerians fall easy prey to human traffickers, who traffic them abroad for sexual exploitation, cheap labour or organ harvesting.” The Catholic Bishops were equally critical of government’s efforts to address these issues, calling the reform agenda ‘counterproductive’ and a ‘therapy worse than the disease.’

The CBCN challenged the government’s claims of savings from fuel subsidy removal, questioning the lack of operational refineries which leads to continued reliance on fuel importation. It said: “In withdrawing the fuel subsidy, the government assured Nigerians it would save a lot of money to be injected into other national development sectors.


“Rather than give evidence of money so far saved from the withdrawal of subsidies for which Nigerians are being afflicted with untold hardship, all we hear is the government’s accumulation of more and more foreign debt to balance its budgetary deficit, thereby mortgaging the future of our nation and generations yet unborn.

“This has led many Nigerians to conclude that all the extensive talks on fuel subsidies may be mere fairy tales. Nigeria owns four refineries, two in Port Harcourt, one in Warri and one in Kaduna. How can we explain that these four refineries have remained moribund for years, despite turn-around-maintenance efforts, which have continued to gulp huge sums of money?”

On the security front, the CBCN President described the government’s efforts as ‘woefully failing’ and urged for more proactive measures to protect citizens.

“Without security, there can be no development,” he declared, pointing out the vital link between employment opportunities for youth and national security. According to the Bishops, corruption, too, remains a pressing concern but called for a more effective prosecution of corrupt officials to prevent the continued looting of public coffers.

The Catholic Bishops further touched on the controversy surrounding the recent Vatican document “Fiducia Supplicans,” which has stirred debate among the faithful. While the document prohibits blessings for samesex unions, it also encourages pastoral care for those in ‘irregular situations.’ The Bishops called for sincerity, accountability, and a collective effort to steer Nigeria away from its current trajectory towards a more secure and prosperous future.

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