by Wale Odunsi
The possible resignation of the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, should not come as a surprise to Nigerians.
A source told DAILY POST on Wednesday that the boss of the apex bank was getting tired of the approach of President Muhammadu Buhari to fiscal and monetary issues.
“There are possibilities of Emefiele leaving the post because of the state of the economy. But the one that unsettles him the most is an order by the president to change the colour of Naira notes,” our source said.
Buhari’s directive is a reminder of his anti-corruption measures as military Head of State between 1884 and 1985.
‘Buharinomics’, as called, was stringently implemented to revive the slumbering banking industry and curb local currency hoarding.
Buhari ordered that the colour of the Naira notes be changed, forcing all holders of old notes to exchange them at banks within a limited period.
DAILY POST gathered that Emefiele, reluctant to implement Buhari’s instruction, almost tendered his resignation in the past few days but for the persuasion of some prominent Nigerians, including two Bank Chairmen.
The duo were at some point Managing Directors of their respective banks and are from a South-South state.
It was learnt that Emefiele at a recent meeting with close friends in Abuja, the nation’s capital, hinted at his desire to hand in his resignation notice sooner than later.
At the gathering, the former Zenith Bank Managing Director, complained that the Buhari-led government was yet to have a policy direction, adding that he needed an idea of what was in store to guide him in his stewardship.
DAILY POST recalls that part of Emefiele’s fears was his disclosure at the CBN Monetary Policy Committee meeting that Nigeria’s economy could slip into recession within months.
Emefieled told newsmen that Nigeria’s economy was weak due to country’s Gross Domestic Product Growth Rate, which recorded a slow growth in the second quarter of this year, the second consecutive less-than-expected performance for the current fiscal year.
Findings by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that real GDP grew by 2.35 per cent in the second quarter of 2015, a significant decrease when compared with the 3.96 per cent and 6.54 per cent in the preceding quarter and corresponding period of 2014, respectively.
Real GDP growth is projected by the NBS to stabilise at 2.63 per cent in 2015, compared with the 6.22 per cent recorded in 2014.
Another instance Emefiele cited is the impact of non-payment of salaries which had led to reduction on consumer demand.
“The committee noted that the overall macroeconomic environment remained fragile.
“The committee noted that liquidity withdrawals following the implementation of the TSA (Treasury Single Account), elongation of the tenure of state government loans as well as loans to the oil and gas sectors could aggravate liquidity conditions in banks.
“This will impair their financial intermediation role, thus affecting economic growth, unless some actions were immediately taken to ease liquidity conditions in the markets.
“Having seen two consecutive quarters of slow growth, the committee recognized that the economy could slip into recession in 2016 if proactive steps were not taken to revive growth in key sectors of the economy”, he added.
Meanwhile, Emefiele has other options as he enters a decision-making period on whether to remain at the CBN or use the exit route.
These include offers at an international financial consortium and a bank in Europe.
Nigerian financial experts and other professionals have a history of joining organisations abroad after leaving government jobs in their fatherland.
Former Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), was in July appointed Vice President (Treasury) of the World Bank.
Her appointment is effective on September 28, 2015.
Former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, earlier in the week disclosed that she is joining United States financial advisory and asset management bank, Lazard.
Okonjo-Iweala also got an additional job: chair-elect of the board of Bill and Melinda Gates’ Gavi the Vaccine.
Relatively, Nigeria’s Agriculture Minister, Akinwumi Adesina emerged president of the African Development Bank and replaced Donald Kaberuka on September 1.
But if it so happens that Emefiele quits the CBN, his replacement may be picked from one of the few names being touted as likely successor.
He is Fola Adeola, pioneer Managing Director and current Chairman of Guaranty Trust Bank.