THE Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, yesterday, expressed optimism that the present economic recession in the country would end by the end of June or latest by the third quarter of this year, based on what he described as emerging positive economic indicators.
According to Emefiele, one of such indicators is the downward trend in the parallel market as regards the value of Naira against the dollar which has appreciated from as high as N525 per dollar to between N370 and N380 currently. Emefiele spoke with journalists after a closed-door meeting with Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the entire leadership of the Senate, yesterday, evening when he briefed the Senate on some of the issues in the forex market and its interventions.
He listed other indicators to include reduction in the rate of inflation by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, and the country’s foreign reserve that had also risen from over $27 billion at the beginning of the recession in June last year to over $31 billion now. Emefiele said: “Actually, the Senate President invited us to come and brief the Senate in a closed session and the leadership about providing some updates about the foreign exchange market and you will all have observed that in the last two months, the CBN has been involved in some form of intensive interventions in the foreign exchange market.
“This has fortunately resulted in a downward trend in the parallel market price of foreign exchange from as high as N525 to as low as N370. Right now, it hovers between N370 and N380. “I think it’s an opportunity for me to say that we are going to continue this intervention because the reserve looks very good. As I speak to you, our reserve stands at above $31 billion and that provides us enough firepower or ammunition to be able to defend the currency and we will do so with all intensity to ensure that foreign exchange is procured by everybody. “We have started to see a downward trend, even in prices of goods and commodities and you must have also observed that inflation is also trending downward as confirmed by NBS. “We are very much optimistic that by the end of the second quarter or latest third quarter this year, we should be out of recession that we are in right now.”
He assured that the downward trend in the parallel market in favour of the Naira would be sustained by the CBN through its needed interventions and in particular, through the policy of willing buyer and willing seller basis.” Also speaking with journalists after the meeting, Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Ibrahim Rafiu (APC, Kwara South), who expressed happiness over the changes and development in the forex market, said the Senate had proffered some solutions which, according to him, would result in a different policy direction and attract foreign investments into the local economy. Rafiu said lawmakers would ensure the intervention was sustainable, adding that “as usual, the leadership of the Senate is always engaging the most important sectors of our economy.’’