Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), was recently bestowed with the prestigious Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR) national honour, in recognition of his service to the Nigerian economy during his nine-year tenure. The award ceremony, held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, saw President Muhammadu Buhari conferring the honour on Emefiele, along with 340 other notable Nigerians.
Emefiele assumed office in 2014 and successfully stabilized the banking sector, minimizing the number of failed banks. However, his policies and decisions have faced significant criticism, with some key points of contention being the naira redesign, exchange rate policies, and forex restrictions imposed on importers.
One of the major policies implemented by Emefiele was the restriction on importers accessing foreign exchange for 41 initially and later increased to 44 items. Additionally, the CBN introduced limitations on the usage of naira-denominated cards abroad, initially setting a daily spending limit of $300.0 per person. Furthermore, the elimination of commission charges on retail forex transactions and the bilateral currency swap agreement with the Peoples Bank of China were notable moves made during Emefiele’s tenure.
However, the discontinuation of foreign currency sales to Bureau de Change (BDC) operators and the recent massive fall in the value of the naira against the dollar on the black market have raised concerns. The sudden change left many Nigerians astonished as the exchange rate surpassed N750 to the dollar, causing implications for individuals and businesses alike.
Experts have weighed in on the current state of the market and discussed the potential impact on Nigerians and companies. The depreciation of the naira heightens the urgency for the CBN to address the challenges facing the currency and explore measures to stabilize it.
While Emefiele’s national honour recognizes his contributions to the Nigerian economy, it also prompts reflection on his legacy as the head of the CBN. As he concludes his nine-year tenure, his successes in stabilizing the banking sector are tempered by the criticism surrounding certain policies and the current state of the naira. The incoming Governor of the CBN will inherit the responsibility of navigating the challenges and seeking effective solutions to maintain a strong and stable Nigerian economy.