Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), is 60 years old today and has not wavered in his attempts to ensure economic growth and financial stability through strategic measures that have been criticized in recent years.
Such policies have assisted the CBN in guiding the Nigerian economy through economic crises such as stagflation, the Covid-19 pandemic, interest rate issues, foreign currency rates, external reserves, exchange rate, financial inclusion, and the agriculture value chain gap.
According to OsitaNwanisobi, CBN’s acting director, corporate communications department, the CBN adopted several interventions under Emefiele’s leadership, which were born out of market failure and other important concerns inside the nation’s economic sector.
The CBN now has 37 intervention funds aimed at stimulating the economy and combating unemployment.
According to a review of some of his key accomplishments thus far, Africa’s largest economy has seen a significant increase in bank credit to the private sector, which increased by 92.79 percent year-on-year to N32.64 billion in June 2021 from N16.93 billion in June 2014, when Emefiele was appointed governor of the CBN.
The massive surge in bank credit growth was fueled by the CBN’s Loan to Deposit Ratio (LDR) policy, which was implemented in September 2019 under Emefiele’s leadership.
Under the Emefiele-led Central Bank’s development finance initiatives, the Bank granted N756.51 billion to 3,734,938 smallholder farmers cultivating 4.6 million hectares of land, of which N120.24 billion was extended for the 2021 Wet Season to 627,051 farmers cultivating 847,484 hectares of land, under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP); for the Agribusiness/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scenario; and for the (SMEs).
The Bank also distributed N3.0 billion to 7,057 beneficiaries, including 4,411 individuals and 2,646 SMEs, through the National Youth Investment Fund (NYIF). N3.22 billion was distributed to 356 beneficiaries under the Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI) across the film production, distribution, software development, fashion, and information technology verticals.
The CBN released N923.41 billion to 251 real sector projects under the N1.0 trillion Real Sector Facility, with 87 in light manufacturing, 40 in agro-based industry, 32 in services, and 11 in mining.
N98.41 billion was disbursed from the N100 billion Healthcare Sector Intervention Facility (HSIF) for 103 healthcare projects, of which 26 are pharmaceuticals and 77 are hospital services. Similarly, the CBN Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention (Grant) Scheme (HSRDIS) disbursed N232.54 million to five beneficiaries for the development of Covid-19 and Lassa Fever testing kits and devices.
N36.04 billion was disbursed under the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) to 17 Meter Asset Providers and nine (9) DisCos for the procurement and installation of 657,562 electricity meters. The CBN released N120.29 billion to 11 DisCos under the Nigerian Electricity Market Stabilization Facility – 2 (NEMSF-2) to provide liquidity support and stimulate critical infrastructure investment necessary to enhance service delivery and collection efficiency.
In terms of money market development, the impact of the Bank’s liquidity management operations was reflected in the economy’s net liquidity position and interest rates.
The CBN has implemented several measures in collaborative work with key financial institutions aimed at improving SMEs’ access to finance and allowing them to expand their operations. Allowing SMEs to leverage their movable assets to obtain capital from financial institutions is one of these activities, as is the development of credit reporting agencies, which would encourage SMEs to ensure healthy credit ratings in order to obtain credit from financial institutions at a lower cost.
When he took office as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria on June 5, 2014, he stated that his vision was to make the Central Bank of Nigeria more people-oriented, with policies and programs geared toward job creation.
According to the CBN’s corporate communications department, the bank’s development finance interventions have resulted in the creation of almost seven million employment.
The intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the Cotton, Textile, and Garment (CTG) industry resulted in the creation of over 620,000 direct and indirect jobs in just two years.
The Nigerian government’s financial inclusion program has made modest progress. While more Nigerian individuals are financially included, according to the EFInA Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2020 survey, the National Financial Inclusion Strategy targets have yet to be realized.
Ayodeji Ebo, head of retail investment at Chapel Hill Denham, praised Emefiele’s accomplishments, saying, “There is no doubt that the CBN Governor came into office at extremely key times where the economy has faced economic recession at two distinct times.”
“Through the deployment of intervention funds to encourage growth, the CBN governor has offered considerable support for the Nigerian economy, which is in accordance with his core aim expressed in his inaugural statement. 60 resounding applause for the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. I wish him good health and God’s blessings for many more years,” Ebo remarked.
Emefiele rose to the top of his banking career as the managing director of one of the largest Nigerian banks before becoming the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, where he is implementing policies to grow the Nigerian economy and manage price stability, according to Ayodele Akinwunmi, relationship manager, corporate banking at FSDH Merchant Bank Limited.
As he grew older, the CBN governor said his parents realized that providing him with a solid education was the best way to improve his chances of a better future.
“I saw their hardships as they tried to pay my school tuition, sometimes with the help of income from a little palm-oil farm we had in our hometown. Despite all the comforts that some of my contemporaries possessed, I sympathized with their inability to adequately support me during those periods,” he stated.
Emefiele remained hardworking and motivated to achieve his dream of being a leader in his chosen sector of finance despite their constant warnings. In 1987, he joined the Nigerian-American Merchant Bank, a subsidiary of First Bank of Boston, and in 1990, he became a pioneer staff member of Zenith Bank. These same qualities enabled him to become the Bank’s group managing director 20 years later, and then, by the special favor of God, to be named Governor of the Central Bank in June 2014, and reappointed by President Muhammadu Buhari for a second 5-year term in June 2019.
“I am sure my parents would have laughed if someone had told them that the modest palm-oil business they were conducting in our hometown would produce a Central Bank Governor,” he added.
“When I think back on some of my classmates in high school who concentrated on things other than hard work and dedication to success, I see a different path in their lives. I am eternally grateful to God and my parents for the values they instilled in me for this and many other reasons,” Emefiele stated.
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