Maladies of a fiddler CBN Governor, By Victor Ikhatalor

Posted by News Express | 8 November 2022 | 477 times

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•Victor Ikhatalor


As Rome burnt in July AD 64, it is largely held that the Emperor Nero blissfully fiddled away. There is also a school of thought that holds that the fiddling emperor was complicit in starting the fire that ravaged Rome.

Well, whatever your historical leanings are on the circumstances of the great fire of Rome – what can empirically not be circumvented, however much court jesters will wish it – is that Nigeria’s “fires” continue to ravage her, and her president “fiddles” on!

Dogged by the continuing unraveling spectre of an almost permanently indolent, vacuous, “I am not aware” captain of the Nigerian ship, forever seemingly ensconced in his cabin or else being rowed of in skiffs into distant horizons, enabling viciously grasping shipmates to run amok in a rudderless ship beset by stormy seas – if ever we thought we have seen the worst of this conundrum – it appears we must continue to brace up for more.

If we thought we have seen enough classics in an unending “running amok” series, that is: parliamentarians and Minister in a hurry to “off your mic”; Minister kicking Agency head to the curb, and then being patted again on the back for sprouting fundamentalist views; a sitting CBN Governor becoming a partisan politician and aspiring to be president – well, we haven’t!

For Mr Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), it does appear that high and high again food prices – blink – and high again food prices, sky rocketing inflation, ever worsening high unemployment, etc, are just not enough “fires” for Nigerians to bear!

For this CBN Governor, under whose watch, and this began BC Covid-19 and BC Ukraine war (as they'd have us believe our economy only began to rot as a consequence of these dual event’s)our economy has reached historical lows in all facets – it does appear that he must continue to fiddle – come what may!

What in the name of all that's holy does the CBN Governor hope to achieve with redesigning the naira at this time, especially issuing ultimatums leading up to the yuletide and the general elections!

Aside from the “select” beneficiaries of the humongous contractual obligations this project will entail and perhaps a more shrouded intent in “new designs” for those bent on redesigning the naira – there are absolutely no benefits to the general populace.

If anything, it has unleashed more negativity, more pain. The CBN Governor's announcement has immediately exacerbated the exchange pressures on the Naira by other foreign currencies as seen in the corresponding sharp rise of the U.S dollar against the Naira.

How can a CBN Governor not foresee that his redesigning will certainly lead to aggravated disruptions in local forex supply, exchange rate and interest rate shocks – aggregating to food and energy shocks that will further bedevil the populace!

That the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has expressed divergent views on Mr Godwin Emefiele's plans to redesign the naira is not shocking – not in this dispensation.

That it implies for the whole world to see that the drivers of our fiscal and monetary policies have not coordinated on such a huge plan that has far ranging ramifications for the economy is also not shocking but only signposts the “jejune” dysfunctional economics management that has been our lot under this dispensation.

That we have been numbed into a permanent state of what in local parlance is a “we no fit shock again” disposition by this administration, does not mean we do not know that no “sane” country can countenance divergent driving paths of it’s fiscal and monetary policies! Indeed, they must work hand in hand at all times in a symbiotic manner– the Ministry of Finance and the CBN– that is!

Indeed, in the United States, (that we like to copy), the world’s biggest economy, where the economy is given its right of place as the “holy grail,” like in serious countries across the world, the Federal Reserve (the Fed), arguably the most powerful financial institution in the U.S must work collaboratively with the Department of Treasury.

Ordinarily, replacing old currency notes with new ones is a routine exercise that Central Banks undertake and do not have to make noise about but this particular endeavour has managed to hit all the wrong notes and is, at the very least, a waste of time and resources.

At another time and in the ordinary course of going about its business, one would have envisaged that with N100 (equivalent to U.S 20 cents), the CBN will rather sanely coin N100 to N500 notes.

If the CBN is worried about anything – as it seems not to be sufficiently worried about our pertinent economic woes, surely eliminating the monumental waste implicit in the continued printing of low-value naira notes with short life spans – should be diverting enough.

But alas, this is a time of “fiddlers” who will entertain no alternative realities. The CBN’s Governor’s swift response to the Minister of Finance, Mrs Ahmed, could be surmised in one words: “up yours” – well, two words actually!

Such is the monumental ego and unbridled grasping proclivity that has characterised “shipmates” in this dispensation – polluting every part of government’s business.

And if you dare worry about it too much, then you might be told to go have a “heart attack”. The CBN Governor fiddles on – in exalted company.

•Victor Ikhatalor, an Ambassador of Nigerian Industry and Business,could be reached on: Twitter: @MyTribeNigeria; Email:

Source: News Express

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