Godwin Emefiele, the newly appointed governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has scaled through the Senate screening exercise which he used as a platform to reeled out his plans to turn around the economy with emphasis on reducing unemployment
| By Chinwe Okafor | Apr. 7, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT
GODWIN Emefiele, former managing director of Zenith Bank Plc, seized the opportunity of his confirmation exercise by the Senate on Wednesday, March 26, to state his plan for turning around the economy. Top on his agenda will be to maintain a low regime for both inflation and interest rates, reduce unemployment as well as stop the dollarisation of the naira. During the question and answer session in the Senate, Emefiele, 53, also stated his plans to change the CBN, promising to look into the book of the bank and never to incur any illegal spending.
“I will look into the budget expenditure components in the CBN, but I am aware that we have what is called the operational expenditure profile as well as administrative expenditure profile. I think and I imagine, I suspect that more of the deficit would have come from areas that are pertaining to operational expenditure and if it is about operational expenditure, it means unfortunately, we cannot do anything about it because those were the expenditures that were incurred in the course of open market operation which is needed to ensure that we maintain a strong currency and ensure that we continue to have a good country,” he said.
His statement came after Enyinnaya Abaribe, chairman of the Senate committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs asked him what he will do to address the N266 billion 2013 budget deficit of the CBN. According to Emefiele, the core mandate of the CBN is to achieve monetary and price stability, ensure strong exchange rate and build foreign reserves. “We will ensure that we have a sound financial system in Nigeria. We will work hard to achieve macro-economic stability in the country, where inflation rate will continue to come down. We will ensure that the interest rate continues to come down. During my tenure, whatever monetary policy decisions we take will be those that will lead to the improvement in the level of employment because employment is very crucial to national development,” he said.
On the dollarisation of the Naira, Emefiele said that that one of the core mandate of CBN is to ensure that we maintain a legal tender and respect it and ensure that whatever is done, that our Naira has to be used as a legal tender. “I will take it as a responsibility to ensure that the attempt to dollarise the Nigerian economy is discouraged. We should not allow it because it will create problem for the economy…” he said.
Emefiele will take over the reins of CBN from Sarah Alade, the most senior deputy governor at the bank who has been the acting governor since Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s was suspended over allegations of financial recklessness and gross misconduct on February 20. It was the same day that President Goodluck Jonathan sent the name of Emefiele to the Senate for confirmation. Emefiele will assume office in June when Sanusi’s tenure expires.
Confirming the president’s nominee, David Mark, president of the Senate, expressed assurance that Emefiele would lead the bank without fear or favour. Even though Emefiele’s confirmation exercise was largely supported by the members of the Senate there was minor dissenting voice before the session started. Before he was allowed into the chamber, Senator Ibrahim Gaya tried to stop the confirmation when he moved a motion reminding the Senate that Sanusi’s matter was still in court. According to Gaya, when the CBN governor was suspended, he went to court and Order 53 (5) bars the Senate from moving ahead on the matter. He urged the Senate to wait until the court case is over.
But Senate President David Mark told Gaya that he has done his best and has been seen to have done his best for his constituency. “Unfortunately, your best is not going to carry the day here. So let me, and all of us, including you take responsibility for the screening. Unfortunately, what’s before the court has nothing to do with what we are going to do now. So, I rule you out of order”, Mark said before commencing the proceedings that led to Emefiele’s confirmation.
Until his appointment, Emefiele was the group managing director, Zenith Bank Plc, a position he has held since August 2010. Previously, he was the deputy managing director of the bank, having been appointed into that position in 2001. Emefiele has been on the bank’s management team since inception and has held various management positions in the bank, including serving as the bank’s executive director in charge of Corporate Banking, Treasury, Financial Control and Strategic Planning.
Until he took over as group managing director, Emefiele was directly responsible for all the group’s local subsidiaries, Treasury and Correspondent Banking, and Multilateral, Conglomerates, and Private Banking. He also had responsibilities for direct supervision of majority of the bank’s branches in Lagos and Northern Nigeria.
Emefiele has more than 26 years banking experience and holds a B.Sc and an MBA in Finance both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Before commencing his banking career, he lectured Finance, Bank Management, and Insurance at the University of Nigeria and University of Port Harcourt, respectively. He is an alumnus of Stanford University, Harvard and Wharton Graduate School of Business where he took courses in Negotiation, Service Excellence, Critical Thinking, Leading Change and Strategy.
Under Emefiele’s leadership, Zenith Bank has strengthened its position as a leading financial institution in Africa, winning recognition and getting endorsement at home and abroad for giant strides in key performance areas like corporate governance, service delivery and deployment of cutting-edge ICT as well as impact in the bank’s numerous spheres of operations. In 2012, Emefiele’s visionary leadership saw Zenith Bank receiving acclaim from reputable institutions such as world finance, CFI and FTSE Global Markets that have named Zenith the Best in Corporate Governance, Best Commercial Bank in Africa, and Emerging Global Super brand respectively.”