CBN Governor can’t turn around economy, CSO tells Tinubu

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A rights group, Empowerment for Unemployed Youths Initiative (EUYI) has said the current Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr Olayemi Cardoso has not shown signs of turning around economic woes facing the nation.

The biting inflation and the unstable forex market according to the CSO are direct consequences of hasty policies of the CBN in recent times without a clear cut vision on how to navigate the situation.

Consequently, in a letter dated 26th March and addressed to the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and signed by its National Coordinator, Amb. Solomon Adodo, copies of which were shared to journalists, the group also advocated for the restructuring of the CBN to pave way for efficiency and reduce the bottlenecks hindering the CBN from discharging its mandate effectively to the Nigerian masses.

Excerpts, “we write as advocates for the millions of unemployed youths in Nigeria to demand for the sack of Yemi Cardoso, the current CBN Governor. While we commend your sincere efforts in repositioning the Nigerian economy,, it is an indisputable fact that as long as your appointees cannot deliver, all your efforts will be in vain and the blame will be on you as the captain of the ship. Therefore, we urge you to spare no one who is a clog in the wheel of the progress of your government including the CBN Governor who has demonstrated the greatest form of ineptitude so far.

“Sir, after a critical examination of the report of our organization’s Technical Team on National Economic Performance and Projections, we are constrained to inform you that under the current policies of the CBN, your economic vision for the country cannot be guaranteed. You will recall that between the end of December 2023 to end of February 2024, the US dollar went from N907 to about N1900 before the outrage led to a number of fire brigade and knee jerk policies that have been deployed to arrest it. Thankfully, it has reduced to N1, 440.38 as at today. The CBN’s lack of regulatory capacity under Yemi Cardoso’s tenure has brought us to this quagmire.

“Although the naira is gaining some strength, the irreducible minimum expectation of Nigerians is for US $1 to exchange for N900 by the end of the first quarter of 2024, which is now a mirage. Prices of commodities have also remained as high as they were. This means the gain the Naira is making against foreign currencies is not a product of a coordinated economic policy but an unsustainable quick fix. Indeed, Mr. Cardoso has a correct idea that Naira is undervalued. But unfortunately, he does not know the exact value of the Naira. As our monetary and fiscal physician, we should all be worried about how he can treat an ailment he cannot correctly diagnose. This is embarrassing to say the least”.

The letter also questioned the anti-corruption and transparency templates of the CBN under the watchful eyes of Mr. Cardoso as well as the CBN’s policies relating to productivity and investment in Nigeria as they are bound to negatively affect the Nigerian economy and youth employment.

“As anti-corruption watchdogs, we do not also know whether the CBN Governor has revealed to Mr President the names or identities of those who forwarded $2.7 billion fraudulent Foreign Exchange liabilities to the Federal Government, which a CBN audit exposed. This also may speak to the issue of transparency in the CBN. Are we back to Mr Godwin Emefiele’s regime of alleged opaqueness and corruption or is the CBN Governor deeply involved in forex scams for his self-enrichment?

“Also, recently, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) released new Monetary Policy Rate and Cash Reserve Ration which we consider unwitting death sentences on investments and productivity. For the first time in known history, Monetary Policy was raised by 400 points. No investor can borrow from the commercial banks today, except it is for a criminal venture. And assuming anyone borrows to invest, the interest rate will be transferred to production cost thereby giving rise to Cost Push Inflation. Also by the Cash Reserve Ration, banks are stifled of credit. This kind of economics will widen unemployment and suffocate Nigerians, especially the unemployed and other poor citizens who we represent”, the letter added.

The letter equally took Mr President and indeed Nigerians down memory lane and restated the elegant goals and objectives that Mr Olayemi Cardoso promised to achieve while in office which he has deviated sharply from without any tangible explanation aside half-truths, excuses and deliberate distortions.

“For the records, Olayemi Cardoso promised to stabilise foreign exchange regime by achieving monetary price stability given the well real-life implication of it for the well-being of Nigerians. He had also promised targeted policies, transparent market operations and coordination between monetary and fiscal authorities to ensure a more stable exchange rate, control inflation and create enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

“Similarly,, the CBN Governor promised to adopt measures to tackle institutional deficiencies, restore corporate governance, strengthen regulations and implement prudent policies, the promotion of sustainable and inclusive economic growth, ensuring bank recapitalisation, lifting of extant ban on 43 items to enable market forces to determine forex, adopting of floating exchange rate, emphasising on technology in financial services with strict regulatory compliance as well as achieving a trillion dollars economy in 7 years. So far, nothing has been done aside plunging the economy into chaos”, the letter noted.

The CSO through the letter reminded Mr President of his promise to Nigerians to axe any employee who performs below expectations and expressed optimism that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will do the needful and sack Olayemi Cardoso for his litany of fiscal management crimes which have made the naira the worst performing currency after the Lebanese Pound.

“Mr President, you promised Nigerians on your honour (and we believe you) that any appointee that performs below expectation will be sacked. It is left for you to decide that this is the best you want so that in our further engagements, you will not be excused from any obvious failure as far as this is concerned. Whereas this may not be an easy decision, we urge Your Excellency to have the courage you are known for and remove Mr Olayemi Cardoso as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and to also restructure the entire leadership of the apex bank. An ailment is better treated at very early stages”, the letter concluded.