CBN raises hope of MPC meeting

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele has raised the hope of a meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) by the end of the month.

His optimism is based on the decision of the Senate to confirm deputy governors-designate and MPC members-nominees next week.

The all-important MPC, which moderates the monetary policy of the economy, has not met since November, last year.

Its scheduled meeting could not hold last month, raising fears on the management of the economy.

Even the World Bank raised the alarm that the senate’s failure to confirm the members to enable the MPC return to its full activities was unheathy for the economy.

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Speaking after an inspection of the Sunti Sugar factory owned by the Flour Mills of Nigeria and part-funded by the CBN, Emefiele said he was “delighted that the Senate has decided to screen the nominees earlier sent to them by Mr. President. We will have a few days delay. MPC was supposed to hold on the 19th or 20th of March.

“What I suspect is that we will be holding our committee of governors meeting and we will decide. And I believe we will just have between seven to 10 days delay and the MPC will hold.”

He said “with the success of this sugar factory, nothing is impossible and no hurdle is insurmountable that we could see this happen in Nigeria. Nigeria is a country endowed with a lot of resources, it’s endowed with youth and intelligent people, good soil; I believe we can do it. I want to repeat the promise I have made, if any company is interested in any agricultural, agro allied and agro -processing industry, we are ready to support them.”

He said “it is not just about the factory alone but they have about 17,000 hectares of land which they are cultivating sugar cane on. They have so far cultivated about 3,000 hectares. The standard practice is that if you own a sugar mill, you should produce for six months in a year. But for the output they have now, they will be producing for just one month instead of six. So what we are trying to do is that through our Anchor Borrowers Programme we empower small holder farmers who can grow sugar cane plantation which will serve as additional stock for the sugar mill.”

Also yesterday, the CBN and Deposit Money Banks and other stakeholders in the financial sector, agreed on ways to bring in additional 7.6 million Nigerians into the banking sector in 2018.

CBN Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability Dr Okwu Nnanna, speaking at the Financial Inclusion State Steering Committee (FISSCO) Regional Capacity Building Programme in Abuja said all stakeholders were important in achieving the set target.