Naira Defense Not Reliant On Foreign Reserves, Says Cardoso

The CBN Governor, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, announced yesterday that the bank will adopt a more sustainable approach, rather than relying on foreign reserves to stabilize the Naira.

As Nigeria’s foreign reserves dwindled and the Naira experienced a surprising surge in value on the forex market, fueling speculation about the apex bank’s involvement in propping up the currency, the Governor addressed the issue to clarify the bank’s position.

At the ongoing Spring Meetings of the IMF and World Bank, Cardoso announced his team’s commitment to fostering a foreign exchange market governed by the willing buyer-willing seller principle.

Cardoso announced that the issue of Ways and Means (federal government borrowings from CBN) is now a thing of the past, following the successful securitization of the outstanding debt by the fiscal authorities.

His words, “Defending the Naira, from every indication is an elephant in some rooms. I will make this as clear as possible. It is not our intention to defend the Naira. Much as I have read in the recent few days some opinions about what has happened in terms of our reserves being drawn down, the CBN Defending the Naira, if you take your mind to our philosophy and policy, you will see it will be counter intuitive. We want the Naira to perform independently as long as we have a vibrant forex market.

Read also: Crash Expected As CBN Sells $10,000 To BDCs At ₦1,101/$

“Initially we needed to keep the BDCs going. So it is important for people to get forex for school fees, travels and the like.

“The shift you see in our reserve is not to defend the Naira but for things like settling obligations that fell due. Mind you, that is the reason for keeping foreign reserves, in the first place.”

Cardoso also said that his team is cooperating with the fiscal authorities and that, “Ways and Means is no longer an issue.

He said, “Let me be upfront in saying that the monetary policy is only one side. It is very clear to us that we need to have a very good handshake with the fiscal authorities.

“For instance, food inflation is not within the purview of the CBN. Ways and Means is now less an issue.”

The CBN boss said he decided to go the orthodox central banking route in order to build confidence in the Nigerian currency.

Cardoso explained that he was left with no alternative but to increase the monetary policy rate, resulting in a significant 600 basis points hike over a relatively short period.

Cardoso pledged to engage in more open and regular communication with Nigerians and other stakeholders to manage their expectations and foster a better understanding of the bank’s policies.

“We want Nigerians to be realistic in their expectations. We have used the MPC to explain why we took the measures that we have taken.

“We will strengthen the communication framework using different platforms to communicate.”

The Governor indicated that he is pleased with the hard decisions he took, as they are now bearing fruit and achieving the desired outcomes.

Cardoso highlighted that the Naira’s fortunes dramatically changed under his leadership, from being labeled the worst-performing currency globally within two months to achieving the best-performing status worldwide within six months.

“Ultimately the objective is to ensure that we moderate inflation’’, he stated.

Key take-away lessons for him, he said, was that he could not over-emphasise the importance of trust, stating, “Irrespective of boldness to do certain things if the trust is not the there, you will sub-optimise.

“It is a bit of a surprise that one had expected a greater understanding of a lot of the issues, expectations of the people on the CBN is often misplaced.”

Africa Today News, New York 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *