The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria has retained the benchmark interest rate at 13.5 percent.
CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, while announcing this at the end of the MPC meeting, which began Monday, said the committee also agreed to retain the asymmetric corridor at +200 and -500 basis point around the Monetary Policy Rate.
Addressing journalists, Emefiele said he committee decided to leave to the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 22.5 percent, while the Liquidity Ratio is retained at 30 percent and explained that only nine members of the committee were in support of retaining rates to understand the trend of growth.
“Data on the domestic economy suggests some fragility in output growth during the second quarter of 2019 with improved output for the rest of the year,” he said.
The Committee urged the Federal Government to build fiscal buffers through a more realistic benchmark of oil price for the federal budget. “Output growth remains well below the economy’s potential indicating the existence of spare capacity for non-inflationary growth, an opportunity which should be explored through increased credit delivery to the private sector”, it said.
Answering reporters’ questions on the way forward, Emefiele said: “in this next phase, there will be a need for us to aggressively be thinking about how do we reduce the level of unemployment and increase the level of employment in the country.
“I must confess that yes there is a relationship between employment level, improved economy and security in the country. We all have to work together. Those who are making life difficult for people to go to their farms, to be able to produce or conduct their farming activities we use this opportunity to appeal to them to please allow our farmers particularly in the food producing belt of the country who are affected to allow these farmers go to farm.
“When people go to farm they get employed and make food available, feed their families and employ other people. And when they do so ultimately it reduces the level of insecurity in our country.
“A lot of work need to be done, we need to consolidate on the growth that we have right now that fragile. The economy growing at 2percent is suboptimal if we consider that this country population grows at an average of over 2.7 percent per annum.
“And of the fact that you might have heard me saying it is saddening that we will be the third largest population in the world in 2050, even higher than America but following India and China. It’s not a good story but what it also means is that we have a lot of work to do to be able to feed and provide food, to be able to employ the mass of people that will be created as well”, he added.