Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Washington DC
The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, have exonerated themselves from the blame by the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Lamiso Sanusi, who decried the poor attendance of governors, ministers at the US-Nigeria Investment Summit 2018.
The Emir had said the poor showing at the
summit organized on the sidelines of IMF/World Bank Spring meetings in Washington DC, with the theme “Meet and Partner with Government Policy Makers Institutional Investors Corporate Leaders”, was discouraging to investors.
Adeosun said that, as the representative 23 African countries which includes Nigeria, her role includes attending statutory meetings as well as issue statements.
She explained that as a governor of the IMF and member of International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) she is to adhere to schedule, but had not been scheduled to be at the investment summit.
Adeosun said, “I am member of the highest decision making body of the IMF and I represent 23 African countries in that role. So one of the things I have to do is to issue a statement on half of those 23 countries which includes most of the Anglophone countries South Africa, Mozambique. So my primary role here as well as having the Nigerian hat on is to represent the 23 African countries.
“There has been some controversy over the scheduling I wasn’t due at any event. I was here as a governor of the IMF and member of IMFC to represent the 23 African countries and that schedule is what I must adhere to. I think maybe there was some scheduling challenges there.”
Emefiele on his part said, as governor of the CBN, what takes preeminence is the meetings in the IMF as well as the meeting at the world Bank.
He said, “I think it is important for me to say this, when I arrive in Washington the officials of the embassy spoke with me that here was going to be a US Nigeria summit and I said will check my schedule because I wasn’t consulted when this summit was being organized. What one would have expected is that they would have checked my schedule and that of the finance minister if they thought that our presence at the summit was very necessary. They could have checked our schedule to see that there was no conflict.
“I sit here to say the US-Nigeria summit was meant to hold between 2pm and 3pm whereas the the World Bank Development Committee plenary session which is an assembly of ministers and governors of central banks was to hold between 2:15 and 5 p.m. There was no way how the minister of finance and myself could have been at those meetings. But I think it is important to say it is unfair for people to begin to cast aspersions without understanding our schedules.
“The main reason we are here is because of the statutory meetings of the IMF and the World Bank. I felt I should explain this. We are not irresponsible people and please we apologise to those investors who had gathered at the Nigerian Embassy for the summit. My apologies but I know we also held some side meetings with some investors and there will always be lots of opportunities to meet with them. But I want to say this is not the fault of the minister of finance and myself the CBN Governor.”
Only the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi was present at the summit.