Desirous of monetary and fiscal collaboration in order to pull the Nigerian economy of the current crunch, economic management leaders from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Ministries of Finance, Budget and National Planning as well as Trade and Investment, over the weekend, gathered in Abuja to harmonise their policy perspectives.
Speaking at the opening of the two-day Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) retreat at the CBN Corporate Headquarters in Abuja at the weekend, with the theme: “Pathway to Price Stability Conducive to Economic Growth,” the apex Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, reiterated the need for the country’s monetary and fiscal authorities to collaborate and harmonize standpoints so as to develop the economy rapidly.
Mr. Emefiele, who also chairs the Monetary Policy Committee, said the MPC Retreat, which for the first time had in attendance a large representation of the fiscal authorities, was coming at a period when the country faced serious economic challenges. He added that finding a sustainable solution required a broadened participation of colleagues from the fiscal side.
He said that the retreat, as a brainstorming session, would provide perspectives on certain Monetary Policy Committee decisions. He said it would also close the gap on the coordination between monetary and fiscal authorities to chart a common course and take decisions to develop the economy.
In his remarks at the brainstorming session, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, said both the monetary and fiscal Authorities had no choice but to work together to guarantee the country’s economic growth. He posited that the pathway to lower interest rate was to ensure monetary and fiscal authorities collaboration with the private sector.
Also speaking, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, and her Industry, Trade and Investment counterpart, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah both agreed that solving challenges facing the Nigerian economy required unconventional tactics.
Adeosun, while disclosing that there remained a huge number of unbanked Nigerians whose contributions to the economy are hardly captured, said the government must devise ways to bring them into the financial mainstream. She also hinted that, based on the current realities, the Federal Government would have to borrow more to meet its infrastructural obligation.
On his part, Dr. Enelamah emphasized the need for both monetary and fiscal authorities to ensure business, market and investor confidence, as well as policy integrity, in order to improve on the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
In her presentation entitled: “The Macroeconomic Trilemma and Monetary Policy in Nigeria,” the Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, Central of Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. (Mrs.) Sarah Alade said the onus of achieving the trilemma of low interest and exchange rates as well as low inflation should not entirely be the function of the monetary authority. Rather, she said it therefore necessitated the collaboration with fiscal authorities.
According to her, there was need for deliberate policies to ensure stability and engender growth in the economy.