Expectations High As Nigeria Annouces New Central Bank Governor

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Nigeria’s Senate yesterday approved the appointment of Godwin Emefiele as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Emefiele, who is currently the Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc, was named as the successor of former CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi who was suspended on February 20th by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan over allegations of “financial recklessness and misconduct”. Many believe however, that Sanusi was suspended for exposing corruption in Nigeria’s petroleum industry.

The new apex bank chief is set to resume in June when Sanusi’s tenure expires.

Investors and Nigerians alike will be waiting to see how the new CBN governor reacts to the current economic situation as the naira continues to weaken against the dollar, making the acting CBN governor, Sarah Alade shore up the currency with the forex reserve. Nigeria’s forex reserve has now dropped to $39,001 billion since its post-global crisis peak of $49 billion in April 2013.

The governor had upon his confirmation by Nigeria’s upper house taken a strong stance in favour of the naira, stressing that devaluation would be devastating for a country like Nigeria which is import-dependent.

“I am aware that the core mandate of the Central Bank of Nigeria is to achieve the monetary and price stability. Another core mandate of the CBN is to ensure that we have a strong naira and build strong foreign reserve,” Emefiele told the Senate.

Investment firm, Renaissance Capital (RenCap) had in a February report predicted a devaluation of the naira in 2015, something former governor fought throughout his reign which was one of the reasons for his tight monetary policies.

According to RenCap, a cumulative deterioration in Nigeria’s external position in 2013 and 2014 implies devaluation in 2015.

Emefiele is however expected to continue the tradition as his antecedents speaks volume of his ability to maintain a strong financial system. As Zenith Bank MD, the bank had the lowest non-performing loans in Nigeria’s banking industry. A tight monetary policy is therefore expected under the bank chief.

As man who “follows the rule of law and ensure the tenets of corporate governance are strictly followed”, Emefiele is expected to boost investor confidence and ensure the country’s economic growth continues.


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