The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has unanimously voted to increase the benchmark interest rate by 100 basis points to 17.5 per cent.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this while reading the communiqué of the end of the two-day MPC meeting, the first of the year.
The development means this is the fifth time the CBN would increase the interest rate despite calls by stakeholders against the increment.
The CBN said previous increases were beginning to yield results with the slight drop in the inflation rate recorded in December 2022.
However, the CBN stressed that there was a need to keep tightening its fiscal policy.
Meanwhile, the CBN retained other variables including the asymmetric corridor at +100/-700 basis points around the MPR.
The CBN also retained the CRR at 32.5 per cent while the liquidity ratio was kept at 30 per cent
Earlier, the apex bank had increased the MPR from 11.5 per cent earlier last year to 16.5 per cent across four consecutive rate hikes in 2022.
Nigerians Need Cash Now, Osinbajo Laments Naira Scarcity
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has expressed concern over difficulty experienced by Nigerians in getting the new naira notes.
The VP on Friday in Abuja met with some players in the FinTech space to explore possible ways of mitigating the hardship.
Osinbajo urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and banks to deploy more FinTechs and money agents to the hinterlands to address the worrying situation.
The Vice President stated that Nigerians need cash to pay for transport, food, and other needs.
“In Abuja how do you take ‘drop or along’ or use a Keke NAPEP without cash, or buy foodstuff on the road or in canteens, or even buy recharge cards?
“Parents with kids in public schools give money daily to their children for lunch, most commerce is informal, so you need cash for most things”, he said.
Osinbajo said it was disturbing that after depositing old notes, there are no new notes: “People everywhere in the urban areas and rural areas simply have no money.”
The nation’s second-in-command observed some FinTechs have mobile money licenses and should be engaged immediately.
He said many of them have micro-finance bank licenses and already have a network of mobile money agents or human banks or human ATMs, as they are sometimes.
“They can supervise by themselves. They can do currency swaps and open bank accounts.”
Also on Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari met with some All Progressives Congress (APC) governors at the Presidential Villa over the nara scarcity.
Nigeria’s External Reserves Fell By $63.62m In January
External reserves fell by $63.62 million in January, latest figures from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, have revealed.
The CBN revealed in its data on the movement of foreign reserves that the external reserves, which ended December 30, 2022, at $37.08 billion, fell to $37.01 billion at the end of January 30, 2023.
Nigeria’s external reserves fell by $3.43 billion in 2022 after dropping from $40.52 billion at the end of December 31, 2021.
Earlier, Cordros Securities, in its January report, stated that the country, through its policy, has continued to sideline foreign investors at the expense of foreign earnings.
“CBN’s FX supply to the foreign exchange market segments remained significantly below before the COVUD-19 pandemic period. Meanwhile, the demand for the greenback has increased as market players continue to source for FX to fulfil and clear their outstanding obligations,” the report said.
Emefiele’s Cashless Policy Disastrous – Shehu Sani
Civil rights activist and former Senator representing Kaduna Senatorial District, Shehu Sani has described the cashless policy introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, governor, Godwin Emefiele as disastrous and poisonous.
Sani was reacting amid hardship being experienced in withdrawal of money by bank customers leading to queues across the country.
In a statement he issued on Friday and sent to DAILY POST, Sani wondered how public policy should be a catastrophe to people rather than being a succour.
He said: “The redesigning of the National currency and the cash withdrawal policy introduced by Godwin Emefiele is an economic disaster and a poisonous idea aimed at unleashing hardships on the masses of Nigerians.
“If the Buhari administration really wants to target the few corrupt, it doesn’t have to wait this long and it doesn’t have to impoverished punish the poor. Emefiele set a forest on fire in the name of catching a few rats.”
The ex-lawmaker posited that the apex bank has become a political institution, stating that as a developing nation, economic policies such as this would have taken the status of Nigerians into cognisance.
“The CBN has become a political institution and a home for serpentine and delirious economic ideas.
“The CBN under Emefiele has become a shrine for misery and a breeding ground for penury. It has become a republic within a republic,” he said.
He queried reasons Buhari allowed the policy at the twilight of his administration, particularly in 2019 when he recontested to stop vote buying.
“Why didn’t the Buhari administration introduce the change of currency in 2019 and waited until 2023 if the CBN policy is about curbing vote buying?
READ ALSO: JUST IN: Buhari Meets APC Governors At Villa
“Nigeria has been turned into a vast refugee camp where people queue for cash ration. Nigerians have subjected to the multiple tragedies of struggling for money, searching for money, looking for money and scratching for money.
“Nigerians used to buy Dollars at the black market, now they are also buying Naira at the black market.
“The Ahmed Lawan led Senate has failed to checkmate the excesses and autocracy of the CBN because the leadership is in bed with it. The House of Reps have a clear and principled position on the matter”, he concluded.
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