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Nigeria Central Bank Buys Chinese Yuan to Add to Reserves, Sanusi Says

Nigeria's central bank is diversifying its foreign-currency reserves and plans to hold between 5 percent and 10 percent in Chinese yuan, said Governor Lamido Sanusi.

Dollars and euros will remain an important part of the country's $33 billion holdings, he said today in an interview broadcast on CNBC.

A downgrade of the U.S.'s credit rating by Standard & Poor's last month and financial turmoil in Europe "added urgency to start moving away at least some of the reserve from these currencies and start looking to the future," Sanusi said. While the U.S. will remain a very important economy, more countries will look to China, "which is better managed, and which seem to have much stronger fundamentals," Sanusi said.

PhotoCBN's Sanusi

Nigeria, Africa's top oil producer and most populous nation with about 140 million people, depends on oil exports for more than 80 percent of government revenue and 95 percent of foreign-exchange income.

Nigeria is planning a swap arrangement with the People's Bank of China for supplies of yuan, Sanusi said. The Asian nation's decision to allow its companies to make outgoing investments in yuan will also become a source of supplies of the currency, he said.

 

"Given the size of the trade between Nigeria and China, given the fact that we expect that to grow, settlement in yuan will be one good way to use the liquidity," Sanusi said.

Total imports from China in the first quarter rose 60 percent to 341.8 billion naira ($2.2 billion) compared with 207.8 billion naira from a year earlier, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Exports during the period rose 67 percent to 63 billion naira.

 

Nigeria's inflation drops to 9.4% in the third quarter of 2011

A good and encouraging record trickled from National Bureau of Statistics that inflation rate receded to 9.4%  in July, the lowest so far in three years. This is a significant improvement from persistent inflation that was surging upward that compelled the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) to aggressively tighten monetary policy. As of June the inflation rate stood at 10.2% and this made the Sanusi's CBN to raise the interest rate to 8.75%. There is no doubt that the monetary policy of restraining and mopping up liquidity at the monetary base aided to slow down the rising inflation.

The governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido has promised earlier to hold down inflation rate at less than 10%, but for a while it appears futile. Therefore the apex bank of the land, CBN gets into muscular mood by increasing the interest rate at numerous times to rein in the run away inflationary trends. Many observers of Nigerian economy and market including investors were little skeptical about the usage of the aggressive tightening of the monetary policy to achieved the targeted goal.

Financial writer at Thisday, Obinna chima observed that, "The CBN had always expressed disdain for double-digits inflation rate in the country. This has seen the apex bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), adjusting various monetary policy instruments to achieve that ambition. The MPC which has operational independence in setting of interest rates in the country had increased the benchmark interest rate – the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) four times since this year. The benchmark interest was raised from 6.5 per cent in January to 7.5 per cent in March, 8 per cent in May and to 8.75 per cent at the July meeting. Other monetary policy tools such as Cash Reserve Requirements (CRR) had also been reviewed upward."

In reality the issue of taming inflation in Nigeria must go beyond monetary policy but should involves the presidency's fiscal policy to help in the struggle to control inflation. Central Bank of Nigeria should be probably elated with the recent development as inflation now stood below 10% but the struggle is not yet over. The increasing of interest rate to dry up the market excessive liquidity in order to achieve the desired goal of restraining inflation may have a reverse effect at some point. As the interest rate increases it will dampened economic growth by making the availability of credits and loans to tighten. The scenario may once again usher in credit crunch and the financial flow of liquidity in the capital market. This is not the result that CBN is trying to achieve, that it is why a comprehensive outlook is needed to continuous wrestle down inflationary trends.

The economy is cruising at 7.9 - 8 % and that is phenomenal by any standard. The growth must be jealously protected from the rising inflation that can quickly dent the economic growth and reverse the trend. The injections of surplus money into the circulation by the bailing out of the failed banks have in the past contributed to inflation. The continuous and excessive borrowing by Nigerian government by selling of the bonds must be done in way that too much money will not overheat the economy. Nothing is wrong with a country selling bonds and T-bills to investors but the raised funds must be diligently funneled into the economy by the way of investments.

Another methodogy that can be used to checkmate inflation is for Nigeria to live within its means. By this a planned budget must be sensible and it must be successfully implemented. When a government dabbles into excessive spending that will increase its current expenditure and in the long run have untold consequences. The ramifications may come in the retarding of the economic activities and the surging of inflation rate due to excessive liquidity in the market. When Nigeria lives within its means, there will be no need to aggressively raise the interest rate to combat inflation.

When the interest rate was raised to 8.75% at end of CBN's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) session, it issued a statement that, "The Committee observed that the inflation outlook appears uncertain owing to the expected implementation of the new national minimum wage policy and the imminent deregulation of petroleum prices. Significant injection of liquidity from FAAC in the third quarter coupled with the impact of AMCON recapitalizing intervened banks to the tune of N1.6 trillion will both add to inflationary pressures." That is supposely the case but it is not the whole story; the excessive government spending and borrowing played a role to the state of inflation.

Investment in this case means to put money and resources on things that will enable the creation of wealth possible. Investments should go into the provision of infrastructures and social amenities that are needed by the citizens and capitalist for further creation of wealth and upliftment of the wellbeing of the society. The Nigerian government should do its best possible to provide electricity, good roads and security. The security in this case becomes imperative for the protection of life and property, which is the most important function of a given government.

But there are also coming attractions to the economy according Samir Gadio, an emerging markets strategist at Standard Bank Group Ltd that makes outlook on inflation “uncertain.”  Those coming attractions include the doubling of "the monthly minimum wage to 18,000 naira ($116) and to deregulate fuel prices, central bank Governor Lamido Sanusi said last month. Core inflation, which excludes food, will probably accelerate in the second half of the year." These activities have the propensity to increase inflation.

Nigeria must look into the cutting down of importation of food commodities especially rice that can be grown in Nigeria. The less reliance on importation, less spending and less borrowing can bode well for a sound economic standing devoid of higher inflation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 Nigerian banks make Top 1000 World Banks ranking

Lagos — Nine Nigerian banks have made the list of the Top 1000 World Banks Ranking by Tier One Capital in the 2011 edition by The Banker magazine as published in its current edition.

According to a statement signed by the Country Representative of The Banker, Mr. Kunle Ogedengbe, Zenith Bank and First Bank are the two top ranked banks in Nigeria. While Zenith is ranked 296, First Bank of Nigeria Plc is ranked 310.

Other Nigerian banks that made the Top 1000 World Banks list are Guaranty Trust Bank ranked 444, Access Bank (495), United Bank for Africa (513), Fidelity Bank (567), First City Monument Bank (586), Diamond Bank (650) and Skye Bank (657).

Apart from featuring in the top 1000 World Banks, the banks also made the Top 25 banks in Africa with Nigeria being the only country in the continent that has nine banks in the African Top 25 ranking schedule.

CBN's Sanusi

 

CBN raises policy rate

Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, yesterday raised the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) to 8.75 per cent, to further tighten money supply in anticipation of future rise in inflation. The MPR is the benchmark for interest rate in the economy.

The CBN also reported that the nation’s real gross domestic product (GDP) growth slowed down in the first quarter to 6.64 per cent from 7.36 per cent in the preceding quarter, warning that security challenges, infrastructural bottleneck and government spending could undermine investors’ confidence and output growth in the near term.

In a communiqué issued at the end of its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, the CBN explained the rational for raising the MPR for the third time this year.

It said, "The Committee observed that the inflation outlook appears uncertain owing to the expected implementation of the new national minimum wage policy and the imminent deregulation of petroleum prices. Significant injection of liquidity from FAAC in the third quarter coupled with the impact of AMCON recapitalizing intervened banks to the tune of N1.6 trillion will both add to inflationary pressures.

South Africa and Egypt have five banks each, Morocco has three while Togo, Angola and Mauritius have one each.

With the first listing published in 1970, The Banker Top 1000 ranking has for over 41 years served as a credible source for the measurement of the stability of global banks along with in depth analysis of the global financial industry.

In the 2011 ranking, the United States of America maintains number one position through Bank of America, followed by JP Morgan Chase & Co., while HSBC of the United Kingdom moved to third from fifth ranked position last year

New comers to the top 10 compared to last year are Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Japan, China Construction Bank Corporation and Bank of China while those who did not make the top 10 this year compared to last year are BNP Paribas, France; Barclays Bank, UK and Banco Santander, Spain.

The rankings are based on the definition of Tier One Capital as set out by Basel’s Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and the object of the survey is to show the banks’ soundness in relation to the Basel requirement of a minimum ratio of Tier One Capital to risk-weighted assets of 4 per cent (increasing to 7 per cent by 2019) and a minimum ratio of total capital to risk-weighted assets of 8 per cent.

 

Vanguard

Monday, 25 July 2011 16:24

CBN to Raise Interest Rate to 8.5%

Nigeria Likely to Raise Benchmark Interest Rate to 8.5% to Curb Inflation

Nigeria’s central bank may raise its benchmark interest rate tomorrow for the fourth time this year to bring borrowing costs above inflation and slow price-growth to below 10 percent, according to a survey of analysts.

Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi will raise the monetary policy rate to 8.5 percent from 8 percent, said London-based analysts Razia Khan at Standard Chartered Plc, Samir Gadio of Standard Bank Plc and Alan Cameron at CSL Stockbrokers Ltd. He is due to announce the decision in a televised press conference at 2.30 p.m. local time.

"The debate is not about whether the MPR keeps rising - we are convinced it will - but how quickly it will rise," Cameron said in an e-mailed note on July 22. "We are still a long way from positive real interest rates."

Sanusi

Inflation slowed in June to 10.2 percent from 12.4 percent the month before after the naira strengthened against the dollar, easing import costs. The central bank of Africa’s top oil producer has raised rates as it attempts to slow inflation that peaked at 15.6 percent in February of last year and tries to stem a slide in the local currency. The naira has strengthened 2.7 percent against the dollar since June 1.

"Even though the naira has been firmer in recent weeks, demand for foreign exchange remains elevated and foreign capital is unlikely to really start flowing in until positive real rates are achieved," Cameron said.

Plans by President Goodluck Jonathan to end fuel subsidies this year may also push prices higher.

Most members of the monetary policy committee "seem to be keenly aware of the impact that fuel price deregulation could have and for this reason are likely to continue voting for hikes," Cameron said.

Dulue Mbachu in Abuja at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Bloomberg

Nigeria’s Inflation rate increased from 11.1 percent to 12.8 percent

The inflationary pressure is escalating and at 12.8 percent inflation rate recorded at the ending of first quarter of 2011 is not showing any sign of coming down. According to the data coming from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) the February inflation rate stood at 11.1 percent and since then has increased to 12.8 percent at the month of March.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) maybe gradually losing its grip on the rising inflation with its primarily application of monetary policy and should sought the aid of the presidency to utilize trade and fiscal policies to solve the problem of the persistent double digit inflation.

The difference between months of February and March Composite Consumer Price Index (CPI), a tool to measure inflation rate stood at 1.37 percent. That is not a good development.

The deduction to be made is that the power of monetary policy that comes with the usage of interest rate to hold a grip on inflation is waning. A while ago the Central bank of Nigeria raised the monetary policy rate from the previously 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent but it did not necessarily have any effect on the surging inflationary trend. Instead of the interest rate to be de-escalating rather it is accelerating at 1.7 percent, giving the month of March a higher interest rate at a double digit of 12.8 percent.

The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido attributed the surging inflation to rising food prices and energy cost. There is no doubt that the chieftain of CBN understood quite well what the beef is all about. But the reasons he tendered for the rising inflation are secondary and insufficient. The fundamental problem that Nigeria has is its major reliance on importation for essential commodities needed in the country. These are the primary problems that are making the inflationary pressure to be going up. Nigeria imports food, textiles and refined petroleum from abroad. The domestic oil refineries are not producing at optimum levels and importation becomes necessary with the subsidy.

In the consumer price Index (CPI) food and energy products are quite significant because these are products needed by all the sectors of the population for surviving and for the economy to thrive. With these importations Nigeria is exposed to global changes in prices of food and

petroleum products. Therefore as the prices of oil and food increases due to global demand and anxiety in the market that subsequently has effect on economy of Nigeria and put untold pressure on inflation.

The lowering and control of inflation in Nigeria for sustainable growth must be strategically planned and implemented. Monetary policy with its Interest rate can be utilized as in tactical approach to limit the power of inflation at a short term but in long term more should be done. The idea is to maintain a sustainable inflation rate at a single digit for a long term economic growth and development.

The executive of the government has an important role to play in shaping the economic destiny of the nation and not abandoning the battle to defeat and tame inflation to the bureaucrats at Nigerian apex bank. To all and sundry it is becoming self-evident that the tightening of monetary policy has a limited effect in long term prospects waned and as the fundamental problems that plagues the economy persisted.

The Nigerian annual economic growth is cruising at a comfortable level of above 7 percent but the increasing inflationary pressure is about to do one or two to the economy. Inflation by discouraging of the investors and by severely weakening of the country's currency naira can slow down economic growth and probably reverse the net gain effect.

This is not the time for government to fold their hands and become reluctant observer. But no one is asking the executive arm of the government to weaken the independence of the Central Bank by intervening in the affairs of the autonomous apex bank. The financial actors and the Economic gatekeepers in the government must be pro-active, strategic and pragmatic. The executive arm must be serious about cutting down on importation and fixing the oil refineries in the country to avoid refining of petroleum abroad.

This is time to be serious and not time for empty postulations, for we all can agree on what must be done. The government should work with textile and cement importers to find ways to slow down importation while increasing the usage of local materials for production. Nigeria has abundant raw materials for manufacturing cement and textile. The importers should be given tax breaks and other incentives that will compel them to look into local production with the home grown raw materials.

The rising price of food including corn and rice are contributing to the rising inflation. There is a global demand for some of Nigeria's staple food that is imported. Nigerian government should be in partnership with large scale domestic farmers without being overbearing to them. Investment in research and development in the agriculture becomes necessary in order to find the solution to the problems of food storage and preservation. Food preservation will be needed to boost higher food production and sustainability therefore cutting down on food importation. Monetary policy as tool to control rising inflation is waning therefore CBN must look beyond its monetary policy tool to cool off inflationary rising temperature.

Emeka Chiakwelu is the principal Policy Strategist at Afripol. Africa Political and Economic Strategic Center (Afripol) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in Archive

Afripol subscribed to gradual interest rate raise for market's stabilization

For the second time Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) raised the benchmark interest rate to 7.5 percent from the previously 6.5 percent. The one point ascension of the interest rate was part of the aggressive monetary policy tightening by the apex bank to hold back the inflation and soldified the gain made that was buttressed by the receding inflationary trend. The February rate of inflation has receded to an annual 11.1 percent, although a point behind the targeted 10 percent but a good development.

Central Bank of Nigeria Communiqué No. 75 of the Monetary Policy Committee Meeting, March 21-22, 2011 was signed by Governor Sanusi stated that the, "Members of the Committee voted unanimously for further tightening of monetary policy because of heightened risk of inflation. The Members specifically pointed out the rising international food and energy prices, the impact of import costs on domestic prices, the challenges that fiscal stance posed to the external value of the Naira and the likely front-loading of public expenditure in the election period. Against this background, the following decisions were taken:

1. A majority of 9 to 3 Members voted for an increase in MPR by 100 basis points from 6.50 per cent to 7.50 per cent. The 3 Members voted for a 50 basis points increase;

2. A unanimous decision to,

a. Retain the symmetric corridor of +/- 200 basis points;

b. Retain the current CRR of 2.0 per cent and the liquidity ratio of 30.0

per cent; and

c. Extend the CBN guarantee on interbank transactions and

guarantee of foreign credit lines by three months from June 30, 2011

to September 30, 2011."

The aggressive raise of the benchmark interest rate may actually get the task accomplished by quick reduction of inflation. But in long term it may defeat the primary purpose by reverting back to credit crunch at the monetary base. It is logical to gradually hike the interest rate methodically as the market is examined and stability re-enhanced and re-enforced.

The 7.5 percent raised maybe too aggressive, Afripol subscribed to rather a gradual ascend at half point addition at 7 percent. The point is not lost at what monetary policy committee is trying to accomplish in steming down inflation and consolidating the gain made so far. To mop up the liqudity in the market so fast may not bring the relative balance and stability needed in the market. The gradual process of drying of the liquidity at monetary base does not have a shock effect on the market. Therefore raising the benchmark interest rate to 7 percent rather than 7.5 percent would have been better.

 

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) targeted 10percent inflation rate

There is good news coming from Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on inflation. It was reported that the February rate of inflation has receded to an annual 11.1 percent. Although the targeted rate by the country’s apex bank, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was 10percent. The key point is that the inflation rate is receding and may likely come down to the CBN’s 10 percent target.

The myriad issues that contributed to the rising inflation including the massive amount of money injected into the circulation to ease credit crunch. The recapitalization of the failed banks and the buying of the toxic assets of the failed banks introduced equally a large sum into the monetary base.

The problem that summons the greatest barrier to the control of inflationary trends might be the rising price of oil that has increased above $100 per barrel. On one hand it is good because it will swell and increase the country’s decreasing foreign reserve due to excessive withdrawal. But on another hand since Nigeria refined 70 percent of her domestic consumed gasoline outside the country together with the inherent subsides would make it difficult for CBN to be consistent and to have smooth operations.

Bloomberg reported that "While Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer, it relies on fuel imports for more than 70 percent of its domestic needs because of a lack of refining capacity. The government subsidizes domestic fuel prices, boosting its spending as oil costs rise, increasing pressure on inflation. Crude oil reached $106.95 a barrel on March 7, a 29-month high."

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But for now the price of oil was recorded less than $100 per barrel due to the lower demand as a result of the natural disaster that took place in Japan. But the rise of oil demand is likely to increase with the price eventually as Japan will need more energy to replace the collapse of nuclear technology.

Nigerian government has been increasing spending while at same time having a large trade deficits with some trading partners due to increased spending and importation. Another source of the rising inflation may come from the massive and continuous borrowings of the Federal Government of Nigeria. Nigeria has been borrowing heavily lately inorder to finance the rebuilding and renovations of infrastructures.

Rising Inflationary trend is the most persistent threat to Nigeria’s growing economy.  The Central Bank of Nigeria and its monetary policy committee voted to lift the benchmark interest rate of previously 6.25 percent to 6.50 percent last time they met. Before that at the end of fourth quarter of 2009 when the monetary committee gathered, they left the interest rate unaltered at 6.25 percent. The inflation rate then was exceeding 13 percent although its surging momentum has since receded, yet inflation rate is still above 10 percent in the first quarter of 2011.

The  governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) promised to hold back inflation below 10 percent last year but  inflation rate is still moving upward in spite of the tighten of the monetary policy. Sometimes the CBN can be overly cautious with its application of monetary instrument to stem down inflation. When the benchmark interest rate was retained last year, Afripol financial experts commented on the timidity of the monetary policy committee in not raising the interest rate in the face of rising and persistent inflation.

Nigeria has injected a lot of money into the monetary base to recapitalize the banks that were bailed out from total collapse due to mismanagement.  Nigeria recapitalized the banks with almost $4 billion and Nigeria’s Asset Management Corporation (AMCON) is buying back toxic debts from bad banks at the tune of $14 billion. The liquidity flowing into the economy due to quantitative easing has the tendency to overheat the economy, thereby triggering inflationary trend.  At same time the quick economic growth that attracts investment can over stimulate the economy and keep the inflation surging.

On the borrowings of large amount of money, Nigeria's debt-to-GDP ratio may be minimal but that will not be an inducement for excessive borrowing. All the borrowings are bringing in a lot of money into the circulation and that too can exert inflationary pressure on the economy.  The borrowings Nigeria made last year was enormous but it is not cooling off in 2011. Reuters reported that "Sub-Saharan Africa's second biggest economy (Nigeria)  plans to issue 66.5 billion naira in February, including 36.5 billion naira in three-year and 30 billion naira in five-year bonds. For March, the DMO said in its offer calendar it would issue 30 billion naira each in three-year and five-year paper."

There is a success story with the policies of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on restrictions of inflation so far. To continue with the good result and to further cut back the receding inflation in Nigeria’s economic landscape, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will likely to continue with the tightening of its monetary policy and probably persuading the executive branch to cut down in spending.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sanusi‘s Central Bank of Nigeria raised interest rate to  6.50 percent

Rising Inflationary trend is the most persistent threat to Nigeria’s growing economy.   The Central Bank of Nigeria and its monetary policy committee voted to lift the benchmark interest rate of previously 6.25 percent to 6.50 percent. The last time the monetary committee gathered at the end of fourth quarter of 2009, they left the interest rate unaltered at 6.25 percent. The inflation rate then was exceeding 13 percent although its surging momentum has since receded, yet inflation rate is still above 10 percent in the first quarter of 2011.

The  governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) promised to hold back inflation below 10 percent last year but  inflation rate is still moving upward in spite of the tighten of the monetary policy. Sometimes the CBN can be overly cautious with its application of monetary instrument to stem down inflation. When the benchmark interest rate was retained last year, Afripol financial experts commented on the timidity of the monetary policy committee in not raising the interest rate in the face of rising and persistent inflation.

Then Afripol commented that, “The Monetary Policy Committee of CBN is cautious in not altering the interest rate for fear of spurring any changes in the economy.  But their timidity is not justified because inflationary trend is rising and infusion of the funds is not going to slow it down. Therefore it is logical that Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 6.25 percent be increased not retained. Again Nigerian economy is expected to grow up to 10 percent in the preceding year and together with inflow of cheap money from both foreign and domestic investors may spur higher inflation.”  Therefore it may be little late, but the lifting of the benchmark interest rate will still be contributing in stabilizing and revising the inflationary trend.  But this is not the time to pass judgment on the process, for the key thing is to do the right thing for the economy and financial wellbeing of Nigeria.

Mr. Vincent Ogboi, an economic and financial expert at Afripol stated, “Rising inflation does not booster well for a progressive economic growth. Governor Sanusi must focus on inflation as a laser beam, with monetary policy at his disposal to bring the inflation rate to a single digit. One thing is to lower the inflation but another is to make it sustainable for long term economic growth. The rising prices of agricultural products and hydrocarbon need an intervention of the executive and legislative arms of government in plotting a strategy to revolutionize agriculture and energy sectors of the economy.

Ogboi further stressed that, "Nigeria must not forget that the time is now to diversity her oil based economy. Nigeria must harness her human capital and use it to her full advantage. Oil resources may not last forever but human capital with a large population base is going nowhere soon”

What’s the deal with the rising inflation?

Without doubt, Nigeria’s economic fundamental is relatively healthy. The GDP is growing at an impressive rate. The growth annual rate of 2010 was about 7.8 percent with a striking 8.29 percent at fourth quarter of last year and the economy is expected to grow above 8 percent in 2011. Naira is relatively strong when compared to dollar, in spite of the continuous withdrawal from Nigeria‘s foreign reserve which act as a war chest against aggressive currency speculators. The minister of finance was forecasting a more liberal growth of 10 percent on the grounds that infrastructures and electricity will be upgraded and improved. The level of investments flowing into the economy and Nigerian stock exchange are quite impressive.

Nigerian agricultural products. Photo: Sunday Adedji

Nigeria has injected a lot of money into the monetary base to recapitalize the banks that were bailed out from total collapse due to mismanagement.  Nigeria recapitalized the banks with almost $4 billion and Nigeria’s Asset Management Corporation (AMCON) is buying back toxic debts from bad banks at the tune of $14 billion. The liquidity flowing into the economy due to quantitative easing has the tendency to overheat the economy, thereby triggering inflationary trend.  At same time the quick economic growth that attracts investment can over stimulate the economy and keep the inflation surging.

On the borrowings of large amount of money, Nigeria's debt-to-GDP ratio may be minimal but that will not be an inducement for excessive borrowing. All the borrowings are bringing in a lot of money into the circulation and that too can exert inflationary pressure on the economy.  The borrowings Nigeria made last year was enormous but it is not cooling off in 2011. Reuters reported that “Sub-Saharan Africa's second biggest economy (Nigeria)  plans to issue 66.5 billion naira in February, including 36.5 billion naira in three-year and 30 billion naira in five-year bonds. For March, the DMO said in its offer calendar it would issue 30 billion naira each in three-year and five-year paper.”

The achieving of lower inflation cannot be left only to the reserve bank. All the branches of the government and economic sectors have roles to play. Government will deliberately encourage the consumption of local manufactured products. Agriculture must be improved not only in preservation and storage but availability to all the corners of the country is intrinsic. This is where the improvement of transportation and infrastructure comes in.  The over creation and printing of naira must be decelerated no matter how tempting it might be.

Governor of Central Bank Nigeria and its monetary policy committee have to be on top of the issue of rising inflation. The problem of inflation can retard economic growth and dwindling away gained economic progress.  In case of Nigeria with a problem of high unemployment, inflation can make matters worse by discouraging research and development. The ramification is that employers will have no appetite to produce and hire in economy weaken by inflation.

 

Monday, 10 January 2011 15:38

AFRIPOL PERSON OF THE WEEK

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi: Afripol Person of the Week

The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has been in the position for less than two years but has taken pragmatic steps to reform Nigerian troubling banking system. Since his inception as the head of Nigerian Reserve Bank; the financial and economic experts at Afripol has been monitoring his application of monetary policy to stabilize the banking sector of the economy. We all can agree that he has done his level possible best, with affirmative result.

Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is a free market banker and is dedicated in deepening a disciplined banking system with a well thought monetary policy. He has taken a bold but prudent step to rectify the crumbling Nigerian banking system. He introduced a reformed blueprint grounded in transparency and probity to check profligacy.

Without fear or favor he exposed the lapses in Nigerian banks and took the necessary steps to make things better. The failed banks were bailed-out, rescued and rejuvenated. The culprits in the banking sector especially the managing directors of five banks were sacked and the debtors to the banks were made to pay back the illogical deferred loans.

With quantitative easing he injected liquidity into the monetary base that aided to ease the credit crunch that brought back the availability of credits to the business community.  With the prudent monetary policies, the Nigerian economy was not decelerated and the economic growth appreciated. At the end of the fourth quarter of 2110, the Nigerian economy was cruising at annual rate of 7.8 percent.

Sanusi brought a culture of professionalism and transparency that have been fizzled out for a while in Nigerian banking sector. He did not waited for banking sector to completely fall apart before he commenced with his encompassing and comprehensive banking reform. The good works he did as the chieftain of Nigerian Central bank has brought glowing attributes and accolades to him. Last week a well respected British publication, The Banker conferred to him the World’s Central Bank Governor of the Year for 2011.

Some experts were concerned about the large injection of funds into the banking sector, but this is not a zero-sum game but a win-win exercise for both the taxpayers and the banks. While the banks were rescued, the economic growth was not interrupted and taxpayers in near future will be compensated when the toxic securities are traded.

As a citizen and patriot, Sanusi spoke out on the nation spending one quarter of its generated fund on the business of running the country’s national assembly. This is about 25.4percent of Nigeria’s overhead cost in a country with 70 percent of its citizens living in poverty. Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi never back down and stood up for his principle and freedom of speech.

Sanusi has brought back the respect that the Nigerian banks once enjoyed, and foreign investors are looking favorably to Nigerian banking stocks. The most important accomplishment is bringing back confidence in the banking community. The Governor of Central Bank must be guiding and monitoring the inflationary trend that may be threatening to these great efforts and reforms.

For his hard work, vigilance, pragmatism and patriotism; The Management and Staff of Afripol Organization chose Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the PERSON OF THE WEEK.

Africa Political and Economic Strategic Center (Afripol) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   www.afripol.org

 

 

Afripol recommends higher Monetary Policy Rate to counteract rising inflation

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and its Monetary Policy Committee have decided to maintain the current benchmark interest rate at 6.25 percent. The retaining of the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 6.25 percent was a surprise. Although there were no big changes in the economy and the economy was supposedly cruising at a steady pace at 7.9 percent for the full year growth. But that is not the complete picture, the large infusion of funds for rescued banks and reconstructions are likely to overheat the economy, subsequently triggering higher inflationary trends.

The once vulnerable banking sector with failed banks is being corrected. Initially the failed five banks were rescued with infusion of almost $4 billion dollars and the managing directors were sacked. And now, AMCON a state owned and controlled entity was set up to buy back toxic debts from ten banks at the tune of $14.6 billion dollars. The steady and large inflow of funds will definitely ease the credit crunch but it will likely increase the inflation. Therefore it was anticipated that a bump up of the interest rate to at least 7 percent should counteract the anticipated inflationary trend and the control of cheap money. Inflation looms as more spending and investment increases the economic output.

The Monetary Policy Committee of CBN is cautious in not altering the interest rate for fear of spurring any changes in the economy.  But their timidity is not justified because inflationary trend is rising and infusion of the funds is not going to slow it down. Therefore it is logical that Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 6.25 percent be increased not retained. Again Nigerian economy is expected to grow up to 10 percent in the preceding year and together with inflow of cheap money from both foreign and domestic investors may spur higher inflation.

The issue of the rising inflation is real; at the last quarter, inflationary rate was above 13 percent even with the promise made by Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi of Central Bank to keep inflation below 10 percent at the fourth quarter of 2009. The economy at fourth quarter of 2010 is expected to grow at 8.3 percent in December compares to 7.9 in September. The rapid and increasing growth is putting pressure on inflation. The application of the latent monetary policy appears to be the last resort of the apex bank and it should be boldly but vigilantly applied to stem down inflation.

Africa Political & Economic Strategic Center (AFRIPOL) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.

 

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