Emefiele sees inflation slowing to 15% by 2023

…GDP to grow by 3.47% in Q4 …to maintain stable exchange next few months

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday projected that persistent inflation rate, which has impacted the purchasing power of Nigerians, could fall steadily to less than 15 percent by the end of 2023.

Godwin Emefiele, governor of the CBN made the projections at the 57th annual bankers dinner organized by the Chartered Institute of bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) in Lagos at the weekend.

Nigeria’s headline inflation accelerated to the highest level in 17 years to 21.09 percent in October 2022, from 20.77 percent in the previous month.

The expected drop is premised on the previous policies of the CBN.

“On the backdrop of our previous policy measures, and as the effect continues to permeate the system, our inhouse model-based simulations indicate that inflation rate could fall steadily to less than 15 percent by end-2023,” Emefiele said.

Emefiele noted that inflation expectations are rising as existing structural rigidities are compounded by global factors and anticipated elections related liquidity upsurge, adding that for the rest of 2022 and towards mid-2023 Nigeria’s rate of inflation is projected to remain elevated and above the 12.5 percent growth-aiding threshold.

On foreign exchange, he said the CBN is determined to maintain its stable exchange policy stance over the next few months through innovative policy measures to manage the demand and supply of foreign exchange.
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“If the current problem of oil theft is promptly corrected, we could expect a resumed inflow of crude oil receipts into the official reserves. This could foster gross stability in the foreign exchange market and enhance exchange rate stability,” he said.

The governor of the CBN also projected Nigeria’s growth to reach 3.7 percent in quarter three and 3.47 by the fourth quarter.

According to him, based on the expectation of a robust non-oil performance, and barring any unforeseen shocks, GDP growth rate is projected to remain positive in the remaining quarter of 2022 and during 2023.

He said the performance of the non-oil sector will be buoyed by the continued efforts at entrenching indigenous productivity in high-impact real sector activities, especially agriculture, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and manufacturing. Domestic aggregate demand is further expected to be bolstered by the anticipated budgetary outlay and the surge of electioneering spending in the next few months.

On Monetary policy, he said over the coming years, monetary policy will remain focused on the objectives of price, monetary, and exchange rate stability.

“Our policy stance will, accordingly, remain tight to curtail inflation pressure, regulate capital flows, and buoy the naira-dollar exchange rate. Monetary policy decisions will remain balanced, judicious, research driven, adequate and supportive of the real economy subject to underlying fundamentals.

” We will maintain the current tight Monetary Policy stance in the near-term, especially in view of rising inflation expectations and exchange market pressures. Though we will act to appropriately adjust the policy rate in line with unfolding conditions and outlooks,” he said.

“The CBN is of the view that the short-term outlook of the Nigerian economy remains good,” Emefiele said.