The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has given the Central Bank of Nigeria thumbs up for its doggedness and foresights in the management of nation’s economy, especially through the turbulence of two recessions within a short period.
The Vice President while delivering a keynote address at the one-day summit organized by the Vanguard newspapers in conjunction with the Bankers’ committee specifically praised the dexterity of the economic managers under the supervision of President Muhammadu Buhari for the proactive actions which have successfully pulled the economy out of recession.
He stated that the “encouraging growth performance owes a great deal to the early actions of Mr. President, first in providing an initial stimulus and then, constituting the Economic Sustainability Committee and the Economic Sustainability Plan”.
Specifically, professor Osinbajo commended the initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria in the area of direct support and easier credit terms in addition to pragmatic assistance which the Bank extended to individual s, households, small businesses and some specific sectors of the economy, all of which helped greatly.
On the economic outlook, Professor Osinbajo noted that the growth rate 0.11 per cent, though marginal, it is very encouraging because it’s a V-shaped recovery with a growth of 3.74 percentage points from the previous quarter.
He further commended law makers, policy makers and business leaders for the good performance in the face of the negative impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.
He described that as not only cheering but a demonstration of “what can be achieved as a nation if all of us work together with sincerity and sense of purpose towards achieving a common objective “.
He however advised that beyond the pandemic induced crisis, the next step in achieving lasting growth is to focus on productivity and value addition.
The Vice President opined that the country must encourage value addition in every sector of our economy like in agriculture, focus must be on the processing of raw produce, adding value means more jobs and the value chain makes more money and create multiplier effect in the economy.
On the raging controversy over blockchain technology particularly, digital or cryptocurrency the Vice President said that while he fully appreciates the strong position of the CBN, the Securities Exchange Commission, SEC, and some of the anti-corruption agencies on the possible abuses of cryptocurrencies and their other well-articulated concerns he is of the option that proper regulation may be a good option to explore.
He therefore, call on both the monetary authorities and SEC to provide a robust regulatory regime that addresses the concerns.
As such, “It should be thoughtful and knowledge-based regulation, not prohibition in my view. He further noted that the clarion call for prudence and care in adopting digital currency and this has been very well articulated by our regulatory authorities, but we must act with knowledge and not fear.
He advised that Authorities must ensure that the country is in a position to benefit while safeguarding the adverse side effects or even possible criminal acts that may arise as a consequence of adopting any of these options.
In his address, the co-convened of the summit and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, pledged to adopt accommodative monetary policy stance in 2021 in order to support economic growth in the country.
He expressed optimism that with the discovery and deployment of vaccines worldwide, 2021 would be a year of massive global recovery and Nigeria must not be left out.
Secondly, Emefiele cautioned that we must prevent a resurgence in COVID-19 related cases. Thirdly, we must ensure that a significant number of our population is significantly vaccinated and also improve foreign exchange inflows into our country,” he added.