An average Nigerian identifies the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by its executive governor, in this case the suspended chieftain of CBN, Sanusi Lamido Sansi who has everybody speaking about him. Not because he has reversed the slumped, nosedived and gyrating naira into a stabilized and appreciated currency. Neither has he made the smallest naira denominations (1K, K5, K25, K50) a real medium of exchange, that have occupied respectable place at monetary base and day-to-day business transaction. Rather he is in everybody mouth because of his struggle with the presidency and government of Nigeria.
This is not taking anything away from some good Sanusi has done especially on reducing inflation rate. But his suspension and controversy are gradually eclipsing his achievements at CBN. His accusation of corruption on NNPC was not grounded on verifiable evidence and the way he goes about doing it makes him more of a opposition politician than a respectable head of CBN.
Sanusi has become controversial because he did encroach beyond the duties of CBN governor as chief monetary policy advocate. Even without being aware, he disfigured CBN and transformed himself into a politician, whistle blower, pseudo- EFCC head and a foe to the executive branch of the government. He chose to become a public warrior at the expense of his monetary policy tool, CBN independent and public good. A strong relationship between the presidency and CBN is essential for effective colloboration . That will enable monetary and fiscal policy to be complementary in achieving a sound macroeconomic stability without a threat to CBN independent.Sanuis in the quest to further his agenda has subsequently weaken CBN’s independent by attracting unnecessary attention from the executive branch of the government.
Then here comes Dr. Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). This is an individual that does what he suppose to do at CBN without engaging in politics but he is not a widely recognised household name. I bet he will be the first to say that he is not seeking for attention or popularity but all he wants to do is to get his job done.
What is Dr. Moghalu’s job and responsibility at CBN? Moghalu is the head of the Bank’s Financial System Stability directorate at CBN. He is responsible for the regulation of banks and financial institutions, which entails the management of systemic risk, and the development of finance programs. He is at the vanguard of the implementation of cashless economy and may be the most qualified bureaucrat at CBN with a PHD degree from the acclaimed London School of Economics. Moghalu as the head of the Bank’s Financial System Stability directorate at CBN is responsible for the regulation of banks and financial institutions, which entails the management of systemic risk, and the development of finance programs .
As for the pursuit of cashless economy, Nigeria’s apex bank “is targeting an increase to 375,000 readers by the end of 2015, Deputy Governor Kingsley Moghalu, who heads financial-system stability, said in a phone interview March 11. Cards issued by Nigerian banks carry either the MasterCard Inc., Visa Inc. or Interswitch Ltd.’s Verve logo, giving them access to the world’s biggest payment networks. Of the 25 million electronic payment cards in circulation, 18 million are Verve branded, the company said in an e-mail today,” as reported by Bloomberg.
Apart from being one of the best minds in monetary policy and currency expert, he is also an intellectual and author with making books to his credit. His most recent book Emerging Africa: How the Global Economy’s ‘Last Frontier’ was well received by readers and critic alike. In book he poured a verifiable and profound analysis on Africa as emerging market and probe on the new tune in the international media on Africa as destination of investments and development.
Dr. Moghalu said, “Why I wrote Emerging Africa – to decode and address the real factors that have held Africa back, and the secrets of prosperity they need to understand and apply in order to prosper, rather than merely repeating conventional wisdoms that have not brought about a fundamental change in the African condition.” And his intention is to see a purposeful African development driven by African originality and a model that will ensure a sustainable development.
Mogahalu is a thoughtful and grounded intellectual, he is not a crowd or gallery pleaser and he is not afraid to question the conventional acceptable belief that Africa is rising. He insisted that the facts must be reconciled with reality to truly acknowledge that Africa is really rising. He insisted that the statistics and facts must be grounded on statistical reality not on abstraction as he question the validity of rising Africa.
He questioned, “based on the foregoing, the myth that Africa is rising needs some pause and evaluation. Let us ask some fundamental questions.
Yes, growth rates have been better over the past decade, but are we seeing signs of real transformation? Are manufacturing economies now the norm, or will they likely soon be?1 Is growth outpacing population growth, or could population growth and non-inclusive economic growth without jobs create a youth bulge in future? What is the role of science and technology and innovation in African economies?”
As a serious banker he is not moved by emotions and sentiments but stood on facts and figures. If anybody needs any reassurance about the economy of Nigeria, this is how he spoke about the economy of the country to Africa Asset Management and his analysis is also backed by the econometric forecasting that came from IMF:
“I think it is quite strong; the fundamentals of the economy are sound and I think we are projected to grow by 7% in 2014. Increasingly, the growth of the economy is coming from the non-oil sectors – that is a good thing.I think that in the medium term the Nigerian economy is set to witness some fundamental structural repositioning, that will happen as a result of the power sector reforms, that are currently going on. The privatization of the power sector assets has been very successful, and so power wattage is set to rise rapidly over the next two to three years, and I think that will release a lot of latent entrepreneurial capacity in the Nigerian economy; we have a large informal economy.”
He further stressed on oil and economic diversity: “Also a number of individuals are beginning to set up petroleum refineries and petrochemical complexes and that will also begin to diversify the country away from crude oil towards economic complexity. And that will be good for the country, because it will reduce Nigeria’s import bill over the medium and long term. Therefore I see the Nigerian economy as having a strong future. The demographics are good to support economic growth, but the challenge of job creation remains and Nigeria needs to create more jobs, because the unemployment rate is high. It is also important to address the question of inequality and economic growth and development; the poverty rate is about 60% and that is something that needs to come down over the next decade.”
When Moghalu was asked about the suspended Sanusi, he spoke up from financial perspective and CBN integrity during the Africa CEO Forum in Geneva with the Independent News. Moghalu emphasized “Somebody in the central bank was taking on an activist political role. That is not our function. Central banks over the world have clear functions and in your country [Britain] and any other civilised country I know that central bank governors operate within certain expectations and constraints and respect those expectations and constraints.”
He spoke about Sanusi candidly without not mentioning his name:. “The governor began to make very damaging public allegations against the government… allegations that have not been proven, after the president had sent him a presidential query about the finances of the central bank. The government has given a reason for the suspension and that was… to enable an investigation into the allegations against him.”
The problem here is that fighting corruption is not a bad thing, but accusation without evidence and documented proofs may not only weaken CBN but has the propensity to give Nigeria a negative image that may dissuade investors to stir away investments from Nigeria. This is an important period in the life of Nigeria and the country needs a good image to continue with its economic development. Therefore Nigeria and Nigerians must fight perceived and alleged corruption in a way that will not threaten the economic growth and economic sustainability of the nation.
Dr. Moghalu maybe rightly called the voice of conscience at CBN not because he execute his work, which he does brilliantly. But by standing on principle and refuse to compromise the integrity and independent of CBN. He will not succumb to extra curriculum activities that will in long run weakens the CBN stability and retract its independent.
Emeka Chiakwelu, Principal Policy Strategist at AFRIPOL. His works have appeared in Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Forbes and many other important journals around the world. His writings have also been cited in many economic books, publications and many institutions of higher learning including tagteam Harvard Education. Africa Political & Economic Strategic Center (AFRIPOL) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa. email@example.com, www.afripol.org,