Govs warn CBN to halt increasing Naira exchange rates

The National Economic Council, NEC, has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to fix the worrisome state of foreign exchange rate.

NEC stated this yesterday at its first meeting of the year, presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

NEC is composed by all the 36 State Governors, the FCT Minister and the Central Bank Governor.

After a brief presentation on foreign exchange policy options by CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, members of the council generally expressed concern over the current situation of the exchange rate.

They called for an urgent review of the current policy, especially the gap between interbank and the parallel market rates.

Responding, Emefiele appealed for patience and understanding, assuring that the situation was being closely managed.

On the monthly Budget Support Facility to the States, NEC was informed that a verification process to ensure that benefiting State governments comply with the mutually agreed Fiscal Sustainability Plan has started.

Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said that eight accounting firms have been appointed and had already begun the audit process.

She told the council that the balance in excess crude account stood at $2,458,382,844.03 as at February 15, 2017.

The minister hinted that the National Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) plans to increase domestic infrastructure investment in 2017, as there are compelling opportunities in the environment.

She explained that the focus would be on social infrastructure, including affordable housing and healthcare through the development of specialist hospitals and to this end, the council has decided to inject a fresh $250 million into the Sovereign Wealth Fund sourced from the excess crude account.

On agriculture, the council was informed of the massive wheat production in Jigawa, Kano, Kebbi and Zamfara states among others.

State Governors at the meeting, however, appealed to the Federal Government to make plans for the purchase of excess wheat to ensure price stability and sustainable production.

The council subsequently agreed to discuss and make adequate buy-back arrangements in order to support price stability.