From Uche Usim and Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, has described the slow down in the Chinese economy, weakening global demands, rising debt levels and other challenges facing African nations as worrisome, calling for a pragmatic approach to address them.
Speaking in Abuja yesterday at the 2016 Governors Symposium and the 39th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Governors of the Association of African Central Bank, President Buhari urged participants to also look into the rising inflation, restrictions in capital flows, increased exchange rate volatility and depleting external reserves that the African region is faced with.
“Those of us who rely on only natural resources such as Nigeria, Angola, South Africa and Mozambique, have been hit the hardest. We have also had to contend with the effect of the Ebola Virus Disease, which struck some countries in the West African sub-region.
“Furthermore, China, a major trade and business partner to a number of African countries is currently slowing down as it remodels its economy, sparking fears of further weakening.
“I believe that the theme of this year’s symposium, “Unwinding Unconventional Monetary Policies: Implications for Monetary Policy and Financial Stability in Africa”, covers contemporary issues and is of special relevance to us in Africa. It corresponds with a period when African economies are confronted with a number of growing and sometimes extraneous challenges that constitute threats to growth and the stability of our financial systems. I am confident that you will come up with practical ways by which we can chart a way forward for the growth and development of Africa. The region is confronted with several global and domestic economic challenges,” the President stated.
Speaking specifically about Nigeria, President Buhari said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has for many years spearheaded economic stimulus measures through specific intervention programmes.
“I think these measures should be sustained through good times and through difficult times. We fully understand that monetary policy alone is not sufficient to bring about desired economic growth. We must carefully balance monetary and fiscal policy measures.”
“For us in Nigeria, while recognising the challenges we are confronted with and the need to surmount them, we are determined to diversify the economy away from excessive reliance on oil and other primary products. Consequently, we are taking measures and implementing policies that would ensure we are self-sufficient, generate massive employment for millions of our youth, and explore our untapped human and natural resources.”
Also speaking at the event, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, described the event as timely considering the economic challenges facing African economies. He urged members of the Assembly of Governors of the Association of African Central Banks (AACB) to work in unison to achieve laudable goals.
Emefiele also urged them to support and participate in all the activities of the AACB to provide it with the necessary and required vibrancy to serve as a veritable platform for galvanising the body’s concerted efforts towards stopping pervasive economic practices such as massive illicit financial flows, which the banking system was best positioned to mitigate.