Nigerians grappling with the challenges of rising inflation and a depreciating naira find themselves in a heightened state of economic anxiety as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) defers its bi-monthly Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting for the second consecutive time.
The MPC, established to ensure price stability and support the Federal Government’s economic policies, traditionally convenes every two months. However, the meeting slated for September 25th and 26th was deferred, initially attributed to changes in the bank’s leadership.
Despite the persistent rise in October’s inflation rate to 27.33%, and the ongoing depreciation of the naira, the November meeting did not take place, leaving financial market analysts, investors, and economic players in the dark regarding critical policy decisions.
While the CBN provided no official statement or explanation for the postponement, sources close to the apex bank suggested that, as the MPC is mandated to meet a minimum of four times annually, the current count satisfies the requirement.
Experts and industry stakeholders expressed concerns over the prolonged delay, citing potential adverse effects on investment decisions, increased uncertainty, and heightened economic risk.
Dr. Muda Yusuf, CEO of the Centre for the Promotion of Public Enterprise (CPPE), emphasized the importance of clear communication regarding the postponement, highlighting that MPC outcomes significantly influence investment decisions both domestically and internationally.
Nnamdi Nwizu, Co-Founder of Comercio Partners, echoed this sentiment, stating that providing a new meeting date would be preferable to leaving the situation unresolved.
Economist Ayorinde Akinloye voiced perplexity over the decision, foreseeing heightened uncertainty in the system and emphasizing the impact on investors’ perceptions of the current CBN administration’s monetary policy leanings.
Despite these concerns, Prof. Uche Uwaleke of Nassarawa State University viewed the postponement as potentially beneficial, suggesting that holding the MPC meeting in September might have led to an interest rate increase, further impacting the cost of doing business.
In contrast, Mallam Garba Kurfi, Analyst/CEO of APT Securities & Funds Limited, expressed worry over the delay, emphasizing the crucial role of monetary policy in addressing inflation and currency devaluation.
Eze Onyekpere, the Lead Director of the Centre for Social Justice, cautioned that the absence of regular MPC meetings challenges the transparency and inclusiveness of decision-making, raising concerns about the effective management of inflation, exchange rate stability, and the transmission of monetary policy decisions to the real economy.
As economic uncertainty lingers, stakeholders await clarity on the rescheduled MPC meeting date and the subsequent policy directions of the CBN under the leadership of Governor Yemi Cardoso.