Recession: CBN assures that it can’t get any worse

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The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has assured Nigerians that the worst of the present economic recession is over, adding that the Nigerian economy was already on the path of recovery as monetary and fiscal authorities are putting strategic measures in place to turn around the economy.

Speaking in Lagos during an interactive session with journalists at the weekend, he said: “I repeat, the worst is over, Nigeria’s economy is on the path of recovery and growth. If you are a bystander, you are losing… join the train now before it leaves you.”

While expressing optimism that Nigeria may come out of the current economy recession the fourth quarter of this year, he stated that this could be only possible when the result of the various measures put in place by the Federal Government and the monetary authorities becomes manifest.

The CBN governor equally reiterated his call for the federal government to partially sell some of its oil joint venture assets, saying that the proceeds raised from the sale would go a long way in boosting Nigeria’s foreign reserves and reflating the economy through infrastructure projects.

He was upbeat that the liberalisation of the foreign exchange, forex, market was starting to pay off, revealing that the country had recorded $1 billion capital inflows from foreign investors since the market took off almost three months ago.

Emefiele blamed the country’s economic crisis on the global crisis, “which has seen commodity prices dropping in recent times as well as the geopolitical tensions all around the world.”

This notwithstanding, he was optimistic that the Nigerian economy would rebound by the fourth quarter of this year, as the monetary and fiscal authorities had put adequate measures in place to stimulate and reflate the economy.

“We are already in the valley, the only direction is go up to the hill and government is doing everything possible to move up the hill as quickly as possible,” he said.

In the words of the CBN governor, “I’m optimistic that with the action taken by the government, the monetary and fiscal authorities, by the fourth quarter, you will see the evidence that we have started to move up north, in the direction of the hill and out of the recession.

“I repeat, the worst is over, Nigeria’s economy is on the path of recovery and growth. If you are a bystander, you are losing by being a bystander, join the train now before it leaves you.”

While expressing concern over the hardship Nigerians are contending with owing to the economic downturn, he noted that aside from the collapse of commodity prices and geopolitical tensions, some of the actions that the US Federal Reserve Bank took, following the mortgage crisis of 2009, have had an adverse impact on emerging and frontier markets such as Nigeria.

“I must apologise when you said people are suffering, I must apologise that this is happening to our people, but I must confess that what is happening today is as a result of a global crisis; a global crisis in the sense that we’ve seen commodity prices dropping, we’ve seen geopolitical tensions all around the world. Here, we are talking about political tensions between Russia, Ukraine and the US and EU staying on one side and watching; political tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, trying to play their game.

“Of course, the US Fed, following the mortgage crisis of 2009 took a couple of actions, which given the size of the US economy in the world, have had an impact, both positive and negative on emerging and frontier markets which is where Nigeria unfortunately stands today,” Emefiele said.

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