From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Senator Uba Sani, has cautioned that constant and persisting criticisms of fiscal and monetary policies of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is sending out wrong signals about the nation’s economy at a time Nigeria desperately needs the trust and deeper collaboration with local and international investors and development partners.
The senator who represents Kaduna Central in a statement dismissed as highly exaggerated claims in some quarters that Nigeria’s economy is at the verge of collapsing.
‘It is true that our economy is suffering some strains. But it is a global phenomenon that was largely engendered by the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 is a natural disaster that was not foreseen by anyone or any government. So, the global economy is slow and Nigeria’s economy can not be an exception in an era of globalisation. We are witnessing a force majeure situation globally.
‘It is not helpful heaping all the blames on the CBN or even precisely, on the CBN Governor, as some people are currently doing. I don’t think travelling that route all too often, is helpful at all. We should stop the blame game and let all of us, all concerned persons do what we must do to help Nigeria’s economy recover fully from the very devastating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic,’ the senator stressed.
Senator Uba Sani disclosed that the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, has strongly admonished the necessary Committees in the Senate, including the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial institutions, that he (Senator Uba Sani) chairs, to offer the CBN, Ministries, Department and Agencies all the legislative support that is within their competences and powers, in the bid to strengthen the Naira and the nation’s economy at large.
‘As you may be aware, the National Assembly, especially the Senate is fully set to receive the 2022 budget from Mr. President. In fact, I believe that this budget would be presented to us in the next one or two weeks. In the Senate, we have resolved to approach the 2022 budget differently. This is not the time for bogus or outlandish projects or programmes. We intend to streamline the 2022 budget to meet our needs not our wants. These are desperate times and desperate measures are needed to help our economy recover. We will not join the blame game; rather we are determined to help the CBN, the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Budget Office of the Federation and other MDAs in a consistent manner,’ Sen Sani added.
The senator further contended that managing the economy of any nation is like an orchestra, where several members of the group must play their roles consistently and seamlessly.
He said, for example, no matter how perfect any policy of the CBN is, the complementary efforts of other agencies of government would be needed to achieve the desired gain or goal.
‘A policy is a journey and not a destination. If the CBN introduces a wonderful fiscal or monetary policy today, if that policy does not enjoy complementary backing from critical MDAs like the Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, NNPC, EFCC, ICPC, NFIU, the Police, Customs and so on, that policy would amount to nothing at the end of the day. So, my candid advice is that we stop heaping all the blames on the CBN and the CBN Governor. Let us all work together to achieve full recovery of our economy which was messed up by the pandemic.’
The senator similarly likened the management of a nation’s economy to a football team.
‘The forward line, that is the strikers must strive to score goals; but for them to score goals, the mid fielders must supply them with balls as accurately and consistently as possible. And for any football team to win, the defenders must ensure that the opponent does not outscore the team.
‘They must defend efficiently and the goal keeper must have the agility and reflexes of cat. So, one person can not be a striker, a defender, midfielder and goal keeper at the same time. Let us stop the blame game and the de-marketing of our economy. Rather, let us roll our sleeves and do the needful to help our economy rebound.’
The senator recalled that several Nigeria had commended the same CBN for its decisive interventions in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that he is aware that the CBN created credit facilities for the healthcare; Targeted Credit Facility and Manufacturing Sector.
These interventions, Sen Sani, said prevented the country from sliding into a long recession.