CBN moves to curb inflation as interest rate jumps to 16.5%

CBN moves to curb inflation as interest rate jumps to 16.5%
Godwin Emefiele, CBN’s Governor


• Presents new naira notes to Buhari today
• Standing deposit at 17.5% shows inflation rate manipulated, says expert

Raising of interest rate from 15.5 per cent to 16.5 per cent, translating to the standing deposit rate hitting 17.5 per cent, shows inflation rate might be manipulated, the Chief Executive Officer of Dairy Hills Limited, Kelvin Emmanuel, has said.

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who reeled out decisions of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) in Abuja, yesterday, gave the indication that pushing the benchmark lending rate by 100 basis points to 16.5 per cent is aimed at curtailing rising inflation and lowering sustained pressure on the Naira.

Emefiele insisted that previous increases were beginning to yield results and there was the need to keep tightening the rate; hence the additional 100 basis points.

He also revealed that the committee retained the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 32.5 per cent, and that most members voted to retain the asymmetric corridor at +100 and -700 basis points around the MPR. Indeed, the liquidity ratio was retained at 30 per cent.

The cash reserves ratio is the share of a bank’s total customer deposit that must be kept with the apex bank in the form of liquid cash, while the bank’s liquidity ratio is the proportion of deposits and other assets they must maintain to be able to meet short-term obligations.

The CBN governor also said the newly designed N200, N500 and N1,000 notes will be officially presented to President Muhammadu Buhari after today’s (Wednesday) Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

However, it was not made public if the notes will be reviewed by the public or whether the presentation will affect the release date, slated for December 15, in Abuja.

It would be recalled that CBN, in October, announced a plan to redesign the notes in an attempt to take full control of money in circulation.

While CBN hopes to raise rates will reduce the money supply in the economy and rein in inflation, Kelvin Emmanuel sees the policy from a different perspective.

He argued that the decision of the MPC to raise the MPR by 100 basis points (or one per cent) from 15.5 per cent to 16.5 per cent, bringing the standing deposit rate to 17.5 per cent, is clear indication that the inflation numbers reported, last week, were managed.

He observed that full 100 basis points, at a time Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MEMEs) are struggling to survive the impact of accelerating inflation, indicating that the situation is worse than imagined.

He said: “Central Bank has raised the MPR by 500 basis points between May and November 2022, in response to a reported 5.59 per cent rise in inflation within the last 12 months.”

“The conundrum, for me, is having a situation where you keep that asymmetric corridor at 800 basis points (or eight per cent) which is a disincentive for banks to park their monies for interest at the apex banks, but then raise the cash reserve ratio to 32.5 per cent, mopping up a third of all deposits Nigerian banks hold for the M2 money supply, while at the same time continuing with the illegal practice of lending the Federal Government overdrafts in ‘ways and means window’, in clear violation of Sections 38 of the CBN Act, as amended in 2007, (for which it was reported in the CBN bulletin for September, that the Federal Government got N749 billion through the ‘ways and means’ window).”

He said this is a clear representation of policy summersault, adding: “The CBN governor has no respect for the Act that establishes the institution he is privileged to steward. You violate the law and then blame the private sector for it.”

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