Sack Emefiele: how Nigerians eat The Economist hook, line, sinker, boat and fisherman!

Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of England
Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria

A Nigerian is a person who believes that an opinion written by The Economist, however shallow, is from ‘experts’ and should be believed –unquestioned.

When same Godwin Emefiele re-imposed charges on the use of ATM after Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (immediate past Central Bank Governor) stopped the charges, it was clearly a “baffling” policy incoherence: it conflicts with extant “cashless policy”. I criticised him for that.

BUT I do not share the sentiment whipped up by The Economist -through their obviously rushed article- against Emefiele (and by extension the Nigerian think tank) regarding his recently announced policy of discouraging the importation of  certain products in a bid to ease the strain on our foreign reserve and firm up the naira.

The Economist conclusion (which insinuates that Emefiele is dumb, incompetent and better sacked) is shockingly out of logic with the point or argument it raised. One, items which The Economist called “The hit list” can still be imported. Emefiele only said that importers should sort out Forex ‘privately’. He did not say that items on the list are now “contraband”.

Again, ‘Barring politicians from flying private jets’ would not necessarily ‘slash demand’ for them as The Economist would have us believe.

For me, it is even more “baffling” that The Economist couldn’t digest d argument of Emefiele, hence they could only argue about Nigeria’s ‘uncompetitive forex’. I think The Economist would’ve written soundly on Emefiele if they took a broad perspective on the Nigerian economy. Unfortunately, they did not. For example, contrary to The Economist’s hasty logic, “allow currency to devalue” wouldn’t “stimulate exports” in the case of Nigeria.

For example, Akinwumi Adesina, sterling Agriculture Minister and president-elect of the African Bank for Development demonstrated that reducing importation would stimulate local production as in the case of fish. So Emefiele’s policy was on point, well-informed, taking a broad view of the Nigerian economy.

It is my impression that The Economist just wanted to make a point: Emefiele is dumb! While opinion is free, the “experts” need be told that there is no logic between the issues they raised (in terms of depth and speculative implications) and the conclusion they made. The Apex Bank’s governor’s decision is not a correlate of incompetence and does not warrant his removal.

Meanwhile, Nigerians must demonstrate critical thinking when engaging the media stories from whatever source.


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