- Fears for Nigeria’s spiraling population
BY EDMOND ODOK, ABUJA – The Senate has confirmed Mr Godwin Emefiele as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for another five year term.
The confirmation came during Thursday’s plenary as the upper legislative chamber adopted the report of its Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions presented by Senator Rafiu Adebayo.
Speaking on Emefiele’s confirmation, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, charged him to use the renewed tenure to improve Nigeria’s economy for the overall good of the people.
“On behalf of the Senate, let me congratulate the Governor of the Central Bank, Mr Godwin Emefiele on the renewal of his appointment.”
“We wish him a useful tenure and may he use this opportunity to continuously provide support to ensure the economy of our country continues to improve and address the important area of ensuring micro-economic stability,” the Senate President said.
The decision is coming a day after the Senate Committee cleared Emefiele during a screening session where he answered questions on the state of Nigeria’s economy.
Meanwhile, the returning CBN Governor says alarm bells are already sounding so loud over the country’s growing population figure, warning of tough times ahead if urgent steps are not initiated to address and control the spiraling growth.
He said with an impending explosion where Nigeria’s population is projected to hit the 425 million mark by 2050, the country can no longer continue to pretend that all is well.
The CBN boss said having a population that is growing at an uncontrollable rate easily puts Nigeria in harm’s way and there must be proactive measures and workable policies to cater for the emerging challenge of a soon-to-become the world’s third largest nation.
Hammering on the dire situation at hand at his Senate screening session, Emefiele said; “I worry and I do think that we all should worry that a lot of work needs to be done to ensure we are able to put in place policies that will make life good for this 425 million people, when we are the third largest population in the world.”
According to the apex bank boss; “In the World Bank’s/IMF’s World Economic Outlook, Nigeria is positioned as a country whose population will grow and rise to over 425 million people by the year 2050.
“That will present Nigeria as a country with the third largest population in the world after China and India and indeed surpassing the United States of America in population.
“So, we in the Central Bank of Nigeria, from the monetary policy side, have come to the realisation that using the instrumentality of the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) where access to credit is being provided to our masses all over the country, that it will be a way to generate employment and boost economic activity amongst our rural population.”
He boasted that results are visible from the ABP where the CBN has “disbursed over N190 billion to over 1.1 million small holder farmers, cultivating over 1.3 million hectares of land, that we need to do more of this.
“As we do this, we make finance available at low interest rate, we make access to credit easy for our people. And, in doing this, we will be able to create jobs for them and improve the livelihood of our people.”
The CBN Governor further stated that; “Aside from the Anchor Borrowers programme, we are also looking at special programmes targeted at wholesale growth of agricultural sector in Nigeria. Aside from rice and other small good crop markets, we have started looking at palm oil. Because we believe that this country has a lot of potentials in palm oil.”
“If you think about what this country was in the 50’s and 60’s, Nigeria, being a country at that time controlled 40 percent market share in palm oil industry, exporting its palm oil to different parts of the world. But because we found crude oil, we receded and abandoned it”, Emefiele lamented
However, the CBN chief expressed optimism that despite existing and emerging challenges in the polity, the apex bank’s interventions in various sectors of the economy are geared towards sustainable growth and development, adding that Nigerians will soon begin to see “smiles on the faces of our youth, especially those with entrepreneurial skills”.