The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Chief Wale Edun, on Friday led the Nigerian economic team on Friday before Sen. Adetokunbo Abiru-led Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance, and other financial institutions to address concerns related to the exchange rate and inflationary pressures in the economy.
Edun led the team, comprising the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Yemi Cardoso, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari, and the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Atiku Bagudu.
While addressing the joint committee, he said the monetary and fiscal policies are going to lead to “an increase in production and increased funding for the government.
“Difficult reforms take time for the benefits to come through; our duty is to ensure that, in the short term, we minimize the pain for the poor and the most vulnerable.”
He added: “We are looking at making sure that government expenditures are carefully spent; even Mr. President has reduced his own expenditure.”
Cardoso said steps taken by the Central Bank of Nigeria have started reaping rewards from the measures taken to stabilize the volatile foreign exchange rate.
“We have already begun to see shifts in the positive direction. Indeed, CBN measures have already started yielding early results with significant interest from foreign portfolio investors, which was a concern.
“That has already begun to supply much-needed foreign exchange to the economy.
“For example, upward of the past few days, we have had over $1 billion that has come into the market, and this quite frankly has answered the question of if our policies are working,” Cardoso said.
He, however, said that for these measures to be sustainable, Nigeria must, as a country, moderate our demands for foreign exchange.
The Senate last week summoned the Governor of the CBN to appear before it on Tuesday next week on the state of the economy and the free flow of naira in the forex market.
The Senate summoned the CBN Governor through Senator Adetokunbo Abiru, the APC Lagos East-led Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance, and Other Financial Institutions.
The Committee hurriedly met on Wednesday when the naira jumped to N1,520 to a US dollar and resolved to summon the CBN governor on the way out.
Speaking with journalists after the meeting held behind closed doors, Senator Abiru, who noted that the state of the economy, especially the inflation index, was of great concern to the lawmakers, said: “We have held a meeting this afternoon essentially to focus on the direction of the Nigerian economy.
” We are all living witnesses to what is going on. Underscoring the major issue of the economy is the way the inflation index has been, and of course, it is a major concern to us.”