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CBN To Focus On Gradual Reduction In Interest Rates – Emefiele

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President Goodluck Jonathan (2nd right) and President Mamnoon Hussain of Islamic Republic of Pakistan (2nd left) at the Nigeria-Pakistan Business Forum in Abuja, yesterday.

President Goodluck Jonathan (2nd right) and President Mamnoon Hussain of Islamic Republic of Pakistan (2nd left) at the Nigeria-Pakistan Business Forum in Abuja, yesterday.

The Governor of Central
Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, has assured Nigerians that the apex bank would focus on gradual reduction in interest rates under his leadership.
Emefiele gave the assurance at a news conference to outline his policy focus as the new CBN Governor in Abuja.
The Tide source reports that Emefiele who assumed office last Tuesday is the 11th CBN Governor. He replaced the former Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who was suspended from office by the president before the expiration of his tenure.
He said“We shall pursue a gradual reduction in interest rates. “A comparison of selected macro-economic aggregates from some emerging market countries, including South Africa, Brazil, India, China, Turkey and Malaysia indicate that Nigeria has one of the highest Treasury Bill rates.
“Such high rates create preserved incentives for commercial banks to simply buy virtually risk-free government bonds rather than lend to real sector,’’ he said .
He said that to enhance financial access and reduce the cost of borrowing credit, there was the need to pursue policies targeted at making Nigeria’s Treasury Bill rate more comparative to other emerging markets.
Emefiele said that while reduction in both deposit rates would encourage investment attitude in savers, a reduction in lending rates would make credit cheaper for potential investors.
“The bank will also begin to include unemployment rates as one of the key variables considered for its monetary policy decisions.
“In the interim, we will continue to maintain a monetary policy stance, reflecting the liquidity conditions in the economy as well as the potential fiscal expansion in the run-up to the 2015 general elections,’’ he said.
On the exchange rate policy, he said the key goal would be to maintain exchange rate stability in view of the high import dependent nature of the economy and the significant exchange rate it passed through in recent years.
According to him, a systematic depreciation of the Naira would literarily translate to considerable inflationary pressure with attendant effect on macro-economic stability.
“Therefore, under my leadership, the bank will continue to focus on maintaining exchange rate stability and preserve the value of the domestic currency.
“We will sustain the managed float regime in the management of the exchange rate as this will allow the bank to intervene when necessary to offset pressure on the exchange rate.
“To support this strategy, we will strive to build-up and maintain a healthy external reserve position and ensure external balance,’’ Emefiele said.
The new CBN governor explained that there was no doubt that reducing the interest rate and maintaining the exchange rate was a daunting twin goal.
“In this pursuit, the bank will work with all stakeholders to device measures to ensure the goals are achieved.”
On Financial System Stability, he said the bank would continue to sustain the effective management of the potential threats and avoid systemic crisis.
“The core of my vision is to effectively manage potential threats to financial stability and create a strong governance regime that is conducive for financial intermediation, innovative finance and inclusiveness.
“In this regard, we hope to anchor on two pillars of management factors that create liquidity shocks and zero tolerance on practice that undermine the health of financial institutions,’’ he said.
To achieve the goal, Emefiele said the bank would work with stakeholders to aggressively shore up the reserve and also engage both the fiscal and political authorities.
He assured Nigerians of enhanced banking supervisory purview over the banking system and strengthening of risk-based supervision mechanism to ensure overall health and banking system stability.

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FG To Recover N614bn Debt From 35 States

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The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, says the Federal Government has resolved to recover N614 billion loan facility from 35 states of the federation.
The minister disclosed this when she briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC), presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, at the State House, Abuja, yesterday.
Ahmed said each of the affected 35 states received N17.5billion as bail out from the Federal Government.
She said that already the Council had agreed to constitute a team to finalise modalities for commencement of repayment of the loan facility.
The team, according to her, would be constituted from the Nigerian Governors Forum to meet with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Ministry of Finance.
The Minister of Finance said that she briefed NEC on the progress of the loan facility, detailing how the Federal Government has made a total of over N614 billion available to 35 States being N17.5 billion each.
“Council agreed to constitute a team from the Nigerian Governors Forum to meet with the CBN and Ministry of Finance to finalise modalities for commencement of payment,’’ she said.
The minister further revealed that she updated the Council on the activities of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Excess Crude Account (ECA) and other special accounts of the federation.
She said the committee requested for extension of time to finalise and present its report during the next meeting of the Council.
On the $9billion dollars London Court judgement against Nigeria, the minister said the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami had assured that Nigeria would appeal against the judgment.

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I’ll Lift Nigerians Out Of Poverty – Minister

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The new Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, has promised to lift Nigerians out of poverty by developing the nation’s endowed natural resources.
He made the promise on Wednesday in Abuja when he assumed office shortly after he and other 42 ministers were sworn in by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Tide reports that the minister was received by directors in the ministry and some heads of parastatals and agencies under the ministry.
“I intend to learn quickly from all of you. I have been following the progress of Dr Kayode Fayemi, the immediate past minister of this ministry who did a lot of work.
“I also intend to learn the robes quickly with the Minister of State, so that we can contribute our quota to the development of the country, especially with regards to lifting people out of poverty.
“Mr President has promised to lift 100 million people out of poverty in 10 years, at the end of tenure of this administration which is four years, we want to at least achieve 40 per cent of that,’’ he said.
Adegbite expressed optimism that the administration would achieve a lot at delivering the dividends of democracy.
The minister said he would stamp out corruption in the sector in line with the agenda of the Buhari administration.
“Corruption fight begins with all of us, if we can be disciplined in the little things we do in our privacy, it will be easier to fight corruption in the country.
“We will join efforts with the Federal Government in fighting corruption to ensure a corruption free society,’’ he said.
Speaking in the same vein, the Minister of State for the ministry, Dr Ikechukwu Ogor, said he would support the minister to achieve the vision for the sector.
Ogah solicited the support of members of staff of the ministry to achieve the vision.
“We will all work as a team to take this ministry to an enviable position,’’ he said.
The ministry‘s Permanent Secretary, Dr Abdulkadri Mu’azu, welcomed the ministers and gave them the break-down of the departments and operations.
He said the ministry was strategic to the country, especially with regards to diversification of the economy.
Muazu pledged the loyalty and dedication of the management and staff of the ministry to the ministers to enable them succeed the tasks ahead.
Some members of staff of the ministry expressed optimism that the ministers would bring to bear their experiences to take the ministry to greater heights.

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CTA To Assist Farmers Access Drought, Flood Tolerant Seeds

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The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), has revealed that it is working with partners in various countries to ensure that farmers have access to drought and flood-tolerant seeds.
This move became necessary following the rising effects of climate change which has a direct impact on agricultural activities.
The Senior Program Coordinator of CTA, Dr Oluyede Ajayi said agriculture is central to development in Africa, but unfortunately it is subjected to a lot of pressures of climate change, like drought, weather extremes that affect food production.
Dr Ajayi who spoke with newsmen in Abuja at the Regional Workshop on Climate Finance and Support Mechanism for a Resilient Agriculture Sector in West and Central Africa said the point they raised was how to improve investment to help farmers become resilient and promote food security in the face of extreme weather.
“One of the points that we raised is how we improve investment to help farmers become resilient and to promote food security in the face of extreme weather situations, to do that requires more than investment, unfortunately less than 10 per cent of fund that goes to the climate is spent on agriculture, we are expecting so much from agriculture, but the fund that goes into agriculture in terms of investment to address climate issues is very low.
“So, this meeting is being organised to brainstorm the practical ways to leverage funding and improve financing to support climate action in agriculture”, he said.
He further said that they were also working towards exposing farmers to climate technologies which would assist in increasing their yield even in unfriendly weather.

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