The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, Nnamdi Okonkwo has asked Nigerians not to celebrate the exit of the recession announced by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), as execution of economic policies is what matters now.
In an interview with Punch, Mr Okonkwo also commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for its intervention in foreign exchange.
He said, “recession simply means negative growth in an economy over a specific period of time. I am not in a position to quantify the damage, but I am in a position to know that a lot of things slowed down in line with the slowing economic growth, because the banking industry is a melting pot of what goes on in the economy.”
He continued, “let us take the news of being out recession with caution and not celebrate yet. The Federal Government started the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. It is the disciplined execution of that plan that matters for now.
“On the monetary side, I want to commend the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele and his team because they were under intense pressure to devalue the naira but they stayed focused to address the issue from the retail end of the market by opening up a window where banks were given $2 million weekly to enable individuals buy foreign exchange to pay the tuition fees of their children in foreign higher institutions and before you know it, the exchange rate dropped from N520 per dollar to about N370 presently.
“Besides tuition fees, the apex bank also allowed SMEs and operators in the aviation industry to have access to foreign exchange; but perhaps the most significant move by the CBN in stabilising the currency was the introduction of the Investor/Exporter FX window, which has resulted in major inflows by portfolio foreign investors.”