Nigeria’s foreign reserves were depleted from $37 billion in June 2014 to $23 billion in October 2016, the country’s Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emiefele, declared on Thursday in Washington D.C., adding that the country is now on a solid economic path for growth.
Mr. Emiefele, who is in Washington D.C. to attend the 2017 World Bank and International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings, made his comments while receiving the Forbes Magazine “Best of Africa’s Achievements Award”.
He said although Africa’s most powerful economy is now out of the woods, the challenges surmounted between 2014 and 2017 were gargantuan. Commodities exporting countries like Nigeria were particularly hit the hardest, he added.
Mr. Emiefele recalled that as at February 2016, crude prices had dropped to as low as $28 per barrel as against $110 per barrel between 2009 and 2014. By June 2014, he added, Nigerian reserves stood at $37 billion, but by October 2016, the reserves had crashed to $23 billion due mainly to external shocks and political tensions.
During that period, Simon Ateba News Africa had reported that the Nigerian currency, the naira virtually collapsed, the foreign reserves were depleted due to these global shocks, political tensions and drop in the prices of commodities. Unemployment also soared while inflation skyrocketed to knee-slapping and jaw-dropping levels.
The CBN boss explained that the United States’ reliance on its own oil rather than buying oil from Nigeria and elsewhere also caused great shocks to the Nigerian economy. The geo-political tension also affected Nigeria with limited capital flows into the country.
But things are beginning to brighten, he said, the naira has regained some strength and inflation has begun to go down due to some fiscal and monetary policies embraced by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We are happy that we are where we are today,” he said, adding that within six months, Nigeria has seen an inflow of about $10 billion.
Mr. Emiefele expressed gratitude to Forbes Magazine to have found him worthy of the award.
Each year, Forbes Emerging Markets honors a person whose achievements align with the missions of Forbes Company – to promote and further investments in Africa by U.S. investors.
In selecting the winner, Forbes looks at individuals and their achievements in about 40 African countries.
Past awardees have included Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Aliko Dangote, President Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi of Egypt and many other imminent Africans.
Mr. Emiefele, after receiving the award from Mark Furlong, President of Forbes’ Customs Emerging Markets, also reeled out his achievements under President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership.
“Let me thank Forbes Magazine for finding me worthy on behalf of the Central Bank of Nigeria to receive this award,” Mr. Emiefele said.
“But what is more important is to thank Nigerians, to salute Nigerians for standing with us during the very very difficult times,” he added.
He expressed optimism that the Nigerian economy would continue to improve over the next months and years.