• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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Economy: No need for panics – Emefiele

Godwin Emefiele

Centra Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele on Friday said Nigerians should avoid panic reactions to the ongoing Coronavirus challenge, saying that the apex bank is working to ensure that government activities are not brought to a halt over Coronavirus crises

Emefiele who is a member of the Presidential Committee on the response mechanism to effect of the Coronavirus on the economy, said the group is taking its responsibility to conduct assessment of the virus on the economy seriously , adding that “there is no need for anybody to think that government – whether federal or state would not be able to conduct its activities “

“ I can assure you that by the time we come back, notwithstanding, yes there is a drop in the price of crude, we are going to come up with a mechanism that will make it possible both for the federal and the state government to be able to conduct their businesses”

He disclosed that the committee is aware that there will be many challenges ahead, added that “ but I can assure you that we are thinking very seriously to ensure that the country is not so badly affected like it after others and as a result, I am saying no need for anybody to panic or worried, that’s our job”

Emefiele dismissed calls for imposition of travel ban on some countries, when he said “ l must say that at this time we don’t consider it very necessary that we should go for a travel ban.

“ You all must have read and heard about the consequences of the travel ban which the United States has imposed. It has also even dire consequences.

He disclosed that this is not to say that government is not taking the issue very seriously.
“I can say this, we have friends and relatives who have travelled to the United States recently and they tell you that on entering the borders of the United States, that the kind of checks that they see at the airport in Nigeria is totally nonexistent in those countries”

“ That is a credit for Nigeria and the minister of health has taken this very seriously and we are very happy about the response so far on that matter. It’s just good that we allow it the way it is now so we don’t create more panic in the system that now has even dire consequences for our economy”

Speaking on the spike in the rate at the Bureau de Change (BDC) segment of the forex market, he disclosed that the bank was already working with the security agencies to deal with activities of speculators

“ What has happened is that, this is the activities of some unscrupulous speculators who thought they could take advantage of what is happening to begin to speculate on the currency.

“We have released that circular to say there is no need to panic, anybody who has legitimate business would get foreign exchange to conduct his business.

“What are we saying, is that if you want to travel, which we don’t advise at this time, you will get foreign exchange to travel. If you want to conduct business, such as imports, You will get foreign exchange to conduct that import transactions.

“So for that reason, there is no need for you to rush – everybody wants to rush to the exchange to that door to buy foreign exchange that you don’t even require at this time thereby leading to the spike in the price of the dollars.

“I am happy to confirm to you that as a result of this, we have also begun in collaboration with the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit as well as other security agencies – EFCC is also working with us to establish the people who are involved and I can tell you that we will find them because they use accounts.

“We will find them and I will like to advise those involved to desist from it. But we are happy at this time that those who would have been affected by the panic being created by these speculators having read what we released to the market have now calmed down to say at least CBN has assured us that when we can get dollars to pay our school fees, we can get dollars to travel, you can get dollars to import our legitimate business we will get it.

“ All I am saying is that it is speculative because if you imagine that manufacturing firms where we are even importing our raw materials whether they are in China, Europe or South Korea where you need electronic, all those plants have been shut down. So where is the demand for forex coming from? Or airlines have shut down, people are not travelling, most of the airlines have no passengers, so where is the demand for foreign exchange coming from?

“This is just the activities of some scrupulous individuals and we are determine to find them and when we find them, we will use them as scapegoats so that this kind of thing doesn’t happen again.”

 

Tony Ailemen, Abuja