A support group, Emefiele Mobilization Team (EMT) says the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Godwin Emefiele remains focused on delivering on his mandate as governor of the apex bank.
The group stated this in a statement by its spokesperson, Bashir Mohammed, in Abuja while reacting to claims by certain Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that the CBN governor was involved in politics.
He said that contrary to the claims of the CSOs, Emefiele has not been involved in any political activity of any kind, talking less of compromising the apex bank through purported “political activities”.
Mohammed said that Emefiele had not stated or indicated in any way that he was interested in vying for the position of president.
He said that rather Emefiele remained solely focused on ensuring monetary and price stability, maintaining external reserves, providing economic and financial advice to the Federal Government and promoting a sound financial system in Nigeria.
“Recently, Emefiele launched the 100 for 100 Policy for Production and Productivity (PPP), a CBN intervention designed to stimulate investments in Nigeria’s priority sectors with the core objective of boosting production and productivity.
“He also unveiled the Mega Rice and Maize Pyramids in the FCT and Kaduna recently, both being results of the massively successful Emefiele-led Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
“The programme has financed over four million farmers, improved their productivity, increased rice output, reduced Agriculture imports and saved the country’s scarce forex.”
Mohammed said that Emefiele’s numerous past feats needed not to be mentioned as they were well-documented and known even to his distractors.
He said that in spite of the attempts by some people to create confusion and distract Emefiele and the CBN, Nigeria’s GDP was on the rise following its 3.4 per cent growth in 2021, the fastest growth rate in seven years.
“This is contrary to the claim by the CSOs that Mr Emefiele’s “subterranean interest” in the presidency has become a massive distraction to the CBN and the financial sector of the country,” he said.
Mohammed also described the CSOs’ allegation that the CBN’s money was being “wasted to fund different groups as “reckless and dangerous“.
Asking what evidence the CSOs have to back up their claims, Mohammed said that it was dangerous to make statements in such sensitive socio-political times.
Mohammed added that the CSOs’ claim that “Nigerians have lost confidence” in Emefiele’s leadership was in complete contrast to the opinion of the majority of Nigerians, especially those in rural areas outside of the FCT where the CSOs restricted themselves to.
“Nigerians nationwide who have directly been impacted, directly and indirectly by Emefiele’s good works continue to express their gratitude, confidence and belief that he continues to deliver on his mandate.
“Being the honourable, exemplary and law-abiding citizen that Emefiele is, if indeed he were interested in contesting for the post of president, he would do so in accordance with constitutional provisions,” he said.
Mohammed said that Emefiele would without a doubt be the capable, competent, seasoned, intelligent leader Nigeria requires in such challenging times.
In another separate statement also signed by Mohammed, the group decried what it termed as misleading a report published about the CBN’s 2020 currency operations claiming the bank “spent the sum of N58.618 billion to print N2.518 billion notes”.
He said that the CBN’s Currency Operations 2020 Annual Report clearly stated that CBN spent N58.6bn to print naira notes valued at N1.063 trillion.
“In other words, the cost of printing one naira note was N18, a cost consistent with global currency printing averages.
“Specifically, in line with the Emefiele-led CBN’s objective of ensuring that the banknotes needs of the economy are promptly and satisfactorily met, the apex bank approved N2.5 billion pieces of banknotes of various denominations in 2020.
“It also engaged the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc for production which delivered 100 per cent of the approved indent.”
Mohammed added that the CBN’s Currency Operations 2020 Annual Report also reveals that in line with the CBN’s cashless policy, the volume of notes produced decreased in comparison with the preceding year.
According to him, this is evidenced by the 33.40 per cent decrease in the boxes of banknotes processed.
“Furthermore, based on the CBN governor’s commitment to minimising the operating costs of the CBN, the total cost incurred on printing banknotes in 2020 reduced by 28.84per cent while more broadly, the bank’s expenses on currency operations decreased by 21.08 per cent,” Mohammed said.
He said that upon an unbiased examination of the facts and figures, it was now evident for all Nigerians to see, that contrary to the newspaper’s story, CBN had an efficient and prudent year of currency operations.
Mohammed added that in the same year the CBN under the guidance of Emefiele was able to record critical achievements despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The achievements, according to him, include the conclusion of the upgrade of the Cash Activity Reporting Portal (CARP) for transmission of currency management data from the financial industry to the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS).
It also includes the completion of a mint tracking system application and the commencement of the establishment of a currency laboratory for banknote quality assessment authentication, the registration of an additional Cash-in-Transit (CIT) company, bringing the total to nine CIT companies.
“To consolidate on the progress it made in 2020, the CBN is overseeing the transition to an automated currency operations system in its branches and is commencing the recycling of banknote waste,“ Mohammed said.