The Governor of the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr. Godwin Emefiele has called on Finance Correspondents to address the origin of the recent wave of global protectionism across the world.
Emefiele made the call on Wednesday during his keynote address delivered at the 26th Seminar for Finance Correspondents and Business Editors in Lokoja, Kogi State, in which he noted that since the Great Depression, the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 is widely known to be the most significant setback for the global economy.
According to him, the “great trade collapse” which resulted from the crisis also reflected the policy choices of countries deeply integrated into the trading system which shifted their trade policy orientation from an era of free trade to the adoption of protectionist measures in an effort to cushion the effect of the crisis on their domestic economies.
The apex bank chief affirmed that the theme of the seminar, “Monetary Policy Implementation amidst Global Economic Protectionism”, is relevant, considering the implications of protectionism and the challenges it poses to the effective implementation of monetary policy.
“The theme of the seminar is not only apt, but timely, considering the recent global development in international trade,” he said.
Emefiele stressed that in today’s world, countries have used trade protection as a policy to resolve negative perceptions and shocks in their respective countries.
He queried “In other words, should Nigeria with insatiable taste for foreign goods to the detriment of the domestic economic realities (unemployment and imported inflation) throw its borders open to indiscriminate importation of goods and services”?
The governor alluded to the restriction of official foreign exchange for the importation of 41 items, noting that it was an eclectic policy carefully crafted to reverse the multiple challenges of dwindling foreign reserves, contracting GDP-recession and an embarrassing rise in the level of unemployment confronting the economy.
Emefiele said the implementation of the 41 items, in addition to other complementary macroeconomic policies was effective in lifting the Nigerian economy out of recession.