As the economic recession bites harder, spelling acute hardship for Nigerians, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sunday sought to downplay rising worries over their well being and asked the people to be calm as the economy would soon rebound.

The bank spoke through its acting Director, Corporate Communications, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, but said, however, that the quick rebound was only possible if Nigerians increased their productivity, patronise made-in-Nigeria goods and support measures being taken by it to manage foreign exchange.

He spoke in Owerri at a one-day interactive enlightenment meeting with organised labour where the workers told him that they want an enhanced wage and prompt payment of their salaries, saying it was the only way they could be shielded from the harsh effects of the recession, which the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) through a statement in Abuja yesterday, said was brought about by the incompetent handling of the economy by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Addressing stakeholders at the Owerri interactive enlightenment meeting, Okoroafor urged Nigerians to have the strong belief that with hard work the economy would rebound soonest.

“What is required from everyone of us is a strong belief that we can get out of it as hardworking people. There are things we need to do to get out of the recession: we are calling on all Nigerians to be calm, work hard enough and obey simple rules,” he said.

He encouraged Nigerians to support the federal government directives to ban the importation of 41 items that could be produced in Nigeria to save the country’s foreign exchange reserve.

“We should all support that policy, so that we can allow our people to produce those goods and supply to the people so that we can consume them and give employment to our people, instead of importing the same goods from abroad and creating jobs abroad for their people,” he said.
Okoroafor said Nigerians should support the central bank by exposing economic saboteurs who speculate against the naira.

Responding, the Deputy President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Issa Aremu, admonished the political and economic class to cultivate a bipartisan and pan-Nigerian approach to overcome the current economic crisis instead of passing blame and giving excuses.
He said all Nigerians regardless of their callings are damned by the data on rising inflation, double digit interest rates, factory closures and general underdevelopment, adding that Nigerians must collectively confront underdevelopment instead of giving excuses and blaming each other.

On the critical views of the past two governors of the CBN, Mr. Charles Soludo and Emir of Kano Mohammed Sanusi II, on the policy thrust of the Buhari administration, Aremu said the two voices sounded too familiar, predictable but unhelpful for an economy begging for solutions.

“It’s time to work the recovery of Nigeria based on 1999 constitution’s provision that says the purpose of governance is welfare and security of the citizens,” he said.

According to him, “After 30 years of structural adjustment programme of privatisation, trade liberalisation and currency/financial liberalisation, Nigeria urgently must replace the current disjointed policies with sustainable national development agenda consolidated in various national discourses articulated in visions 2010, 2020 and 2014 National conference.”

He called for the realignment of Nigeria’s monetary and fiscal policies to drive sustainable development and hailed the current spirited efforts of the Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, to defend the value of naira through stringent capital control measures in the face of dwindling external reserves caused by the collapse of oil price.

He said the ban on 41 imported goods and services from the list of items valid for forex in the forex markets was desirable for import substitution.

He suggested that as part of the complementary efforts of the monetary authorities, Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo must quickly hit the ground running and convoke a stakeholders’ forum with all the manufacturers and producers of the 41 banned items with a view to removing the structuring problems facing them to produce these items at home and that if necessary, there should be sequencing and spacing of reforms to avoid the negative impact on the citizens.


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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