The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has called on Nigerians and investors not to panic as a result of the economic challenges the country is currently facing and uncertainty surrounding the forthcoming elections.
Rather, he said, they should remain confident in the economy, bearing in mind that necessary steps were being taken to tackle the challenges and that the economy was resilient enough to bounce back.
Emefiele said these in Lagos last week, when he visited the Nigerian Stock Exchange to, among other things, perform the closing gong ceremony.
He told stockbrokers and other members of the capital market community that, “The Nigerian monetary authorities as well as fiscal authorities are doing everything they can to respond to these vulnerabilities. I repeat that there is no need for us to panic.”
Explaining further, Emefiele said the fiscal and monetary authorities had reviewed various scenarios and models and had outlined action they would take for the various levels the price of crude oil could fall to.
The CBN governor also said efforts were being made to diversify the economy.
Stressing that there was a N75bn increase on non-oil revenues in 2014, he said, “We are expecting in 2015 that this will ramp up to as high as $1bn. Those are some of the activities that have been put in place. There is no need to panic.”
With regards to the uncertainty surrounding the elections, Emefiele pointed out that Nigerian had survived tough times before and that he remained confident in the country’s ability to overcome the current challenges.
Citing the ability of the country to move on after elections since 1993, he said, “Of course, naturally you will find that before an election happens or occurs, there would be disagreements one way or the other, but I am very confident in the spirit of Nigerians.
“Sometimes, you find that as we approach elections, people pull back and say, ‘This is Nigeria and this is one nation.’ And that is the reason why we all need to have faith in Nigeria; that is why I say, no need to panic.”
He also assured investors that the elections would be held and things would improve afterwards.
He said, “The elections will take place. I am not supposed to respond to (questions on) elections, but it is important for me to say there is no need to panic as a result of the elections. The elections will happen, it will go, Nigeria will remain the same and economic activities will improve.
“That is a statement I thought I should make, not only to Nigerians but also to our foreign investors and partners who are working with us. Retain your confidence in Nigeria. Indeed, increase your level of confidence in Nigeria; this economy is resilient.
“There are so many things that we are doing to diversify the structure of the Nigerians economy and I believe that by the special grace of God, in due time, you will begin to reap the benefits of these efforts.”
The President of the NSE, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, thanked the CBN governor for speaking “from his heart” on the challenges facing the country.
Aig-Imoukhuede joined Emefiele in calling on retail and institutional investors to have faith in the country and invest in the capital market and the economy at large.