• Monday, April 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

What is so special about the Number 12?

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 ‘There’s more, if you care… the naira is experiencing some stability against the dollar,’ Rotimi added. He was a bit acerbic. I did not feel he had shifted his position, having half-knowledge of him. ‘All good-to-know statistics but I can also argue they are not running at their best, probably less than half their potential with strong conviction and with facts.’

‘Back to growth being induced internally,’

Chimbo directed. ‘The Chinese and the Americans are doing it through quantitative easing while the Europeans are looking to outright monetary transactions.’

‘Tony, retaining MPR figure at twelve percent, regardless of your position, hurts GDP growth rate and is one sure reason unemployment is high at the moment,’ Rotimi informed. ‘Have you even considered its impact on real interest rate?’

‘Well, I have,’ I responded before adding: ‘Sustained stability can power growth.’

‘Tony has started again with one of his many fine one-liners but I will not let this hold,’ Chimbo pointed out.

‘You spoke my words, Chimbo,’ Rotimi pointed. He turned towards me. ‘Accept it or not, the CBN’s policy of keeping the MPR at a quantitative squeezing level runs counter to its promise to assist the real sector.’

‘How many businesses can actually service debt obligations at almost thirty percent given other cost outlets?’ Chimbo asked.

‘But I just informed you what rates are doing with NIBOR 60- and 90-days,’ I recalled.

‘Those rates are for A-lister companies

– prime customers,’ Rotimi chipped in. ‘Not pro-SMEs – the government’s avowed anchor for growth.’

‘I think we should celebrate the CBN for maintaining the stability we have so far enjoyed with prices rather than reprimand them,’ I remarked.

‘I honestly think they deserve none,’ Chimbo said.

‘I will only do so when I begin to see evidence of a properly managed trade-off between the twin-objects of maintaining price stability and ensuring economic growth. So far, I am yet to see any convincing proof,’ Rotimi informed, paused. He was thinking, biting his lower lip. He continued: ‘In fact, I really think the CBN should quickly find a model that best suits our economy because inflation, at a certain level, might be good for our economy to run at full employment. Japan is trying to reflate its economy, you know.’

‘Some sort of general equilibrium modelling, you mean?’ Chimbo asked.

‘Yes,’ Rotimi acknowledged. ‘Achieving single-digit inflation may be counter-productive

to the economy.’

‘Well, you may be right but my position is that the CBN is doing good at the moment.’

‘So far, it seems none of us has shifted position,’ Chimbo called, winking at me. It was filled with mischief.

‘It means we have only just had an argument,’ Rotimi pointed out.

‘And, as a person, I hate argument but love discussion… the latter informs, the former egotic,’ I informed.

‘Before we pull the curtains, the number twelve is really special,’ Chimbo called. ‘See, the human body has 12 pairs of ribs.’

‘That same body also has 12 pairs of cranial nerves,’ Rotimi added.

‘That’s not all, for the average man has 12 pints of blood… well, the women have 9,’ Chimbo informed.

‘So far, only 12 men have walked on the moon,’ I added.  ‘guys so much for the number twelve

Tony Monye