Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is a successful farmer but he is a bad economist. This is the view of Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, yesterday at the opening of the 6th Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIBN) yearly conference in Abuja. All critics of the planned N5,000 note are in the same category of bad economists, according to him.
The CBN Governor made the assertion while reacting to statements credited to former President Obasanjo recently that the planned introduction of the N5000 by the CBN will fuel inflation and affect production in the Nigerian economy.
He argued that there was no correlation between the introduction of a higher bill and inflation. He also recalled that President Obasanjo was the man who introduced new higher bills in the country, beginning with the N20 bill while Head of State and President.
Sanusi’s defence came on a day President Goodluck Jonathan gave the apex bank a marching order to develop a robust Monetary Policy that could guarantee a low lending rate in the country, describing the current situation where rates range between 25 per cent and 27 per cent as unacceptable and a dis-incentive to entrepreneurs, particularly those in the agro-allied sector.
Jonathan who was represented at the ceremony by the Minister of State, Finance. Dr. Yerima Lawal Ngama, also appealed to banks to refrain from the hot chase for deposits.
He said: “ Please take it easy with your staff because now the emphasis is on how much deposit your staff can mobilise which is also the yardstick with which promotion is assured and not on sound banking principles or on how much credit paper they can write.
This is very dangerous because the implication is that banking is now for all comers, irrespective of background, in as much as one can mobilise deposit.
It is time our banks rekindle their focus by creating products that would help the economy grow. You should look at how to tackle the high interest rate to make it accessible particularly to those in the Agric value chai to enable them expand their operations.”
On the currency restructure plan of the CBN, Jonathan said the Federal Government was fully in support of the initiative, particularly the bit aimed at checking the dollarisation of the Nigerian. Economy.
Sanusi, who was guest speaker at the event explained that the N5000 note idea came about after the apex bank realised that 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the Dollar currency bought from the Bureaux de Change (BDCs) in Nigeria were for local transactions and not for oversea trips and declared that the development poses very dangerous threat to the Nigerian economy.