Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN Godwin Emefiele has said that the Monetary Policy Committee retained all the policy parameters during the last meeting held yesterday in Abuja. This was part of the outcome of the MPC communiqué after the meeting.

Emefiele said that the CRR was retained at 27.5 per cent; and the Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent. He explained that the members decided to retain all the parameters to encourage Management to continue to use its various intervention mechanisms to deploy liquidity into employment generation and output stimulating sectors of the economy would be desirable as this would help consolidate the country’s recovery process.

He, however, said that the MPC noted the performance of the Financial Soundness Indicators (FSIs) of the DMBs which showed a Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) of 15.2 per cent, Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratio of 6.3 per cent and Liquidity Ratio (LR) of 40.5 per cent, as at February 2020.

On non-performing loans (NPLs), the MPC noted that the ratio remained above the prudential benchmark of 5.0 per cent and urged the Bank to sustain its regulatory measures to bring it below the prudential benchmark.

The Committee noted with satisfaction the improvement in the level of external reserves, which stood at US$36.46 billion at end-February 2021, compared with US$34.94 billion at end-January 2021. This reflects the recent upsurge in crude oil prices on the backdrop of the renewed optimism on the successful deployment of COVID-19 vaccines across the globe.

Provisional data showed that banking system credit to the economy increased by 1.75 per cent to N43.67 trillion in February 2021 from N42.92 trillion in January 2021, reflecting the ongoing broad-based monetary and fiscal stimulus to various sectors of the economy. The Committee thus, enjoined the Bank to maintain its current drive to improve access to credit to the private sector, while exploring other initiatives with the fiscal authorities to improve funding to critical sectors of the economy.

Conscious of the persisting inflationary pressure fuelled largely by a continued uptick in food prices, the Committee noted the Bank’s interventions to boost food production, particularly through its various Agricultural programmes.

Other complementary measures included, increase in disbursement for the dry season agricultural programme to increase output, the adoption of high yield seeds to improve productivity and the adoption of harvested produce as a means of loan repayment, which has stemmed from hoarding and the activities of middlemen and rent seekers.

The MPC reiterated its concerns on the activities of persons and groups causing security challenges in the food-producing areas of the country, as this has contributed to the major uptick in food prices across the country.

He also said that the Committee called for collaborative and coordinated efforts by all the relevant agencies and stakeholders towards addressing the prevailing insecurity issues and social challenges.

“The Committee also called on the government to explore the option of effective partnership with the private sector to improve funding sources necessary to address the huge infrastructural financing deficit.”

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