Friday, June 6, 2014


Good morning ladies and gentlemen and welcome to my maiden press briefing. Having assumed office only two days ago, as the 11th Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), I consider it expedient to hold this interaction with you today to unveil my vision for the CBN. I am indeed delighted to share my ideas on creating a central bank that is professional, a central bank that is apolitical, and people-focused. A Central Bank that spends its energies on building a resilient financial system that can serve the growth and development needs of our beloved country, Nigeria.

Before I do so, however, let me sincerely acknowledge the excellent work that the Bank has done to achieve financial system stability, low inflation, exchange rate stability, an efficient payment system, and a consistent monetary policy in the last couple of years. It is, indeed, a testimony to this remarkable work that no depositor lost money in any Nigerian bank in the wake of the global financial and economic crises experienced during 2007-2009. Inflation is now at a six-year low, the exchange rate is largely stable, and monetary policy has provided consistent guidance to the financial community, in particular, and the country in general. To put this speech in proper perspective, I will first present the general context in which we are operating today including current macroeconomic conditions, financial system overview, and the key policy stance of the Central Bank.

Thereafter, I will present and briefly discuss my agenda.
In contextualizing the domestic macroeconomic environment in the light of the global economy, permit me to state that acute risks in the global economy have gradually decreased but not totally dissipated. Global growth is projected to strengthen from 3 percent in 2013 to 3.6 percent in 2014. This is principally due to the reduction in fiscal tightening and continuation of highly accommodative monetary policy in a number of advanced economies, as well as strong exports to the advanced economies from emerging markets and frontier economies. In the United States, real GDP grew by 1.9 percent in 2013, a deceleration from the 2.8 percent recorded in 2012.

However, a downturn in exports and private investment led to an annualized 1 percent contraction in U.S. GDP during the first quarter of 2014, which is the country's worst economic performance in three years.
1 Policy actions over the past year have addressed important tail risks and stabilized financial markets in the euro area, resulting in an expected growth of about 1.2 percent in 2014. However, lingering financial fragmentation, tight credit conditions, and high corporate and sovereign debt burdens remain key downside risks. In Japan, private investment and exports are expected to strengthen, especially in the face of substantial depreciation in the yen over the past year. The economy, which expanded by 1.5 percent in 2013, is projected to grow by 1.4 percent in 2014.

China is projected to expand by about 7.5 percent in 2014, a modest decline from 7.7 percent recorded in 2013. The forecast for 2014 is predicated on the assumption of reduced credit growth and a rebalancing of domestic output. Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa remains robust and is expected to rise from 4.9 percent in 2013 to 5.5 percent in 2014. This expansion expectedly reflects dividends of large megaprojects in infrastructure in natural resource enclaves as well as bountiful agricultural production. Relative to both global and sub-Sahara African growth trajectories, the Nigerian economy performed appreciably well over the last seven years (2007-2013). During the period, the economy expanded by an average of 7 percent, while sub-Sahara Africa's real GDP growth averaged 5.2 percent. In the fourth quarter of 2013, Nigeria's real GDP grew by 7.7 percent, mainly driven by an 8.8 percent growth in the non-oil sector.

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