July 18, 2005
Posted to the web July 18, 2005
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Charles Soludo, has said the current economic reform programme of the Obasanjo administration if allowed to run its full course, will make Nigeria become the China of Africa in the next two decades.
Speaking to THISDAY Board of Editors in his office last week in Abuja, Soludo said that South Africa, which currently enjoys Western patronage, may be the Japan of Africa, but Nigeria would lead the continent in all areas including technological development.
That is why this political reform thing has to be completed. Because once we succeed with it and the economy continues to be on track, give Nigeria 15 to 20 years, my view is that Nigeria will be the China of Africa and South Africa may be the Japan, he said.
He warned that it will require consistency, focus, unwavering commitment and doing it for the next decades non-stop and a critical mass of people who will continue to support this. That is why I say to people that everybody must join the vanguard, it's a vanguard for our future.
He said that the successes recorded in some sectors of the economy are encouraging Nigerians abroad to develop interest in the economy.
Many of them (Nigerians abroad) who are now dealing in this market really like it. One I met recently said he wants to invest in the stock market because, what deterred them in the past was that they didn't know whether it will depreciate and by what percentage. Now, he is sure and the brokers tell them they can make up to 20-30 per cent, so he chases it. He knows that at most, he can only lose 3 per cent. Even if he makes 20 per cent less three per cent that is still 17 per cent in dollar term, which no stock market in the world can give him. So he brings it here. This is systematically the kind of things you need to do and sustain over a period of time, he added.
He promised that the CBN will be made to become a central bank that pursues the role of Nigeria in Africa. He added that the overriding vision is that it is Nigeria's place to lead the black race.
It is Nigeria's place to lead Africa, and the Central Bank must play a pivotal role in not only chauffeuring and managing the macro-economy, but also in helping to move forward and orchestrate a financial system that will make Nigeria Africa's financial centre, Soludo said.
As a result of the goal, he disclosed that the CBN is geared towards becoming a policy institution, especially with the establishment of a new Economic Policy Department, with a crack team of professionals with the best concentration of economists in Africa.
That is why you require the best and nothing but the best in the place. We signal that we've integrated combined banking supervision and banking exams and structuring them towards the new supervision that is suited to the emerging new banking system.
Strengthening also the research department which is now research and statistics, because we realised that statistics component was quite large. We are going to do that in collaboration with the Federal Office of Statistics (FOS). Now we are moving to collecting quarterly GDP. We will be going to the fields in the next 2 weeks to collect quarterly GDP and quarterly survey of the economy and this will be completely new, he added.
Soludo said the future is bright for the country especially within the context of the recent debt relief granted Nigeria in principle by members of the Paris Club.
According to him, the Policy Support Instrument (PSI) requested by the Paris Club as a condition for the final approval for the debt relief should not be difficult for Nigeria to meet since it will be a focused policy set of macro-economic and structural reforms which is currently happening informally under our NEEDS agenda. http://allafrica.com/stories/200507181550.html