Emefiele’s forex reforms get Forbes Award, investment pledges
The aggressive foreign exchange reforms policy of Godwin Emefiele-led Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday, received international recognition from the revered Forbes Magazine.
The bank chief, who emerged the “Best of Africa Achievement,” in the awards ceremony attended by United States dignitaries, global investors, international bankers as well as Nigerian banks’ executives, was recognised for steering the Nigeria’s forex market to stability against all odds.
The awards dinner, held at the Willard Intercontinental, Washington DC, on the sidelines of the yearly Meetings of the World Bank Group, and International Monetary Fund (IMF), yesterday, was presented by the President of Forbes Customs Emerging Markets, Mark Furlong.
Of particular note was the introduction of the Investors and Exporters window, where transactions are fully market determined and currently, has recorded about $10billion foreign inflows in barely six months after take off.
Furlong, while making the presentation, said the Forbes Emerging Markets honours a person whose achievements falls within the “mission of our organisation”, which is to promote further investment in Africa by U.S. investors.
According to him, Emefiele’s doggedness and strategic policy applications, alongside the outcomes, have merited the honor of joining 27 past winners like Aliko Dangote, Obama’s Chief of Staff, Bill Delly, Commonwealth Secretary, and a host of others.
“We honour him for his giant strides in corporate governance, vigorous pursuit of financial system stability and development financing on his firm believe that a central bank cannot idly sit by and watch threats stare the economy in the face.
“His has been resolute in dealing with the effects of commodity price volatilities, the United States easing programmes, the tensed expectations of 2015 general election in the country and the ongoing Brexit talks of the United Kingdom.
“He has backed up his quest of assisting in job creation by his Anchor Borrowers Programme, which has largely been responsible for rice production in the country and the welfare of the citizens. This is incredible and we at Forbes, are proud of him,” he said.
For Emefiele, Nigeria remains grateful to friends, who have shown confidence in the country, the supportive investor-community that at one-time did not like some of the decisions taken, but now have found ones that are so interesting, particularly the investors and exporters window.
Narrating the country’s ordeals, he said it was all-round challenging, as oil shocks as at February 2016, plummeted Nigeria’s reserves; followed by United States rate normalisation; about $40billion capital flight from emerging and frontier markets to U.S.; consequent inflation; and geopolitical tensions hit the economy.
“We are delighted we put forex restriction on 41 items. We were castigated and I was reading in the Economist magazine that what we did was to just move around the home and pick items including toothpicks. I think it is important to know what we are doing.
“Today, companies that require starch and glucose for their pharmaceuticals and formulations patronise Nigerians. This has created jobs for us. That is the spirit of Nigerians. This is part of the reasons the President said we needed to patronise Made-in-Nigeria, and I am happy that we are doing this.
“Nigerians are hospitable and good people and we make bold to say Nigeria is good for business. The returns anywhere are not as high as you have in Nigeria. We invite you and that for me, is the message we have here today. Come to Nigeria, Nigerians will receive you,” he said.
President and Chief Executive Officer, Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), Florizelle Liser, whose membership represents some of the largest companies, SMEs as well as African companies, expressed delight that the award was given to Emefiele.
She explained that the Council has watched the Emefiele-led CBN’s reforms, and is pleased that those efforts have led to economic recovery in Nigeria.
Loser said: “We see that things are turning around now, and we just want to let you know that those efforts are noted by the business community. We also are happy to see the work that is being done on the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria, and we believe they are going to pay off.
“Our members welcome it as an opportunity to see how they can trade more with Nigeria, and invest more in Nigeria. We note that you have a number of agricultural related businesses. We noticed that there is large support for agricultural development in Nigeria at this stage.
“So, we just want you to know that there are companies that are ready to partner and bring new technologies and platforms in Nigeria, to help you meet the goals that you and the president, and others have, to meet your goals for agriculture in the country.
“So, on behalf of the CCA, we welcome the opportunity to continue to partner with Nigeria and to see how we can support the economic growth plan that you have set.”
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