The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has stated that the nation’s apex bank has set a target of achieving a double digit economic growth and a single digit inflation rate on or before 2024.
Emefiele, who stated this in Calabar at the weekend, said the double digit growth and single digit inflation rate are part of target of the five-year policy thrust of the CBN, and its projections for Nigeria’s economy by the end of 2024.
Speaking at a one-day interactive and enlightenment session with organized labour and representatives of the civil society organisations in the South-south zone of Nigeria, the CBN governor, who was represented by the Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, stated that intervention programmes of the bank were well conceived to help the growth of the nation’s economy and stabilise its financial system.
The CBN governor said though the projection of a double-digit economic growth and single digit inflation for the nation by 2024 appears to be a tall dream, considering the current economic realities, however the apex back remains determined to work assiduously in meeting the set target.
He therefore demanded support and participation of Nigerians so the targets can be met.
Quoting from verifiable economic data, the CBN boss said: “As at last year; in the second quarter, the growth was -6.10 per cent, third quarter, it was -3.4 per cent but by the fourth quarter, we returned to a positive territory, having a 0.1 per cent growth that was fragile still.
“By the first quarter of 2021, we maintained a 0.5 per cent growth which was still very fragile. But the vision is still evergreen. The vision is a people-centred CBN that will grow the economy through the people and with the people.”
He stated that as the CBN targets the double digits economic growth, they were also aiming at attaining a single digit inflation rate.
“This is another tall dream because since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation has not stopped. In February this year, inflation rate was about 17.8 per cent, in March it was moved to 18.2 per cent and in April, it started to decelerate. By May it was 17.9 per cent and in June, it was further reduced to 17.7 per cent,” he said.
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The CBN governor appealed to Nigerians to participate in developing the nation’s economy by investing in agriculture, which he noted, as one of the means through which the nation’s mono-economic indices which is dependent on crude oil will be broken.
Also speaking at the event, Dr. Zef Chinedu, one of the resource persons at the event, disclosed that over 6,000 members of the nation’s organised labour have benefited from the CBN intervention programmes.
“Over 6,000 members of the NLC (Nigeria Labour Congress) and the TUC (Trade Union Congress) across the country have so far benefited from some of the CBN targeted intervention programmes,” Chinedu said.
He said it was unfortunate that some Nigerians, especially from the South-east and the South-south geo-political regions, often have apathy towards the federal government intervention programmes, stressing that such attitude was counter productive to the imports of the intervention programmes.
“There is no favouritism in any of the federal government’s intervention programmes through the CBN.
“Don’t think that you need to know anybody. Many households and Small and Medium Enterprises in Nigeria have got the COVID-19 pandemic intervention funds, either the grants or the loans which is at interest rate that is as low as 5%,” he said.
Chinedu said though not all who applied for economic interventions will get, it was better to apply than not to apply at all because it is only through applications that such intervention programmes can be accessed.
Speaking on the Agri-Business/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme AGSMEIS, he said the AGSMEIS is a sustainable intervention initiative which the CBN will continue to fund.
Chinedu said the concept provides that the commercial banks will contribute 5 per cent of their profit after tax yearly, to AGSMEIS.