President Muhammadu Buhari today congratulated the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, and wished him well on his 60th birthday. Buhari appreciated the economist and banker for his patriotic service to the country at a time of difficult economic challenges.
The president prayed that Emefiele’s efforts would yield positive dividends for the generality of Nigerians to reap from.
Buhari equally wished the CBN governor good health and greater service to fatherland.
In a congratulatory letter to Emefiele, which was personally signed by the president, he stated, “It gives me great pleasure to rejoice with you on the occasion of your diamond jubilee. Kindly accept the felicitations of myself, family and Nigerians at this auspicious milestone.
“As Governor of Nigeria’s apex bank, you have rendered selfless service to your country at a most challenging period of our economic development, and I salute your commitment, passion and doggedness. As you continue to build on these achievements, it is my hope that your efforts translate to more positive results on the nation’s economy for improved living standards we envisage for our people.
“While using this medium to pray Almighty God to bless you with many more years in good health and service to your fatherland, please accept my best wishes and personal regards.”
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, also congratulated Emefiele and praised his diligence and commitment to the country’s economic project. In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, Gbajabiamila said Emefiele was one Nigerian whose track record of excellence was there for all to see.
The statement quoted the speaker as saying regarding Emefiele, “Nigeria and Nigerians are proud of him for his services.”
Similarly, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, felicitated Emefiele, describing him as an invaluable asset to Nigeria.
Sanwo-Olu, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, noted that the CBN governor’s input to the country’s economy and the financial sector were clear testament to his visionary leadership.
The governor said the renowned economist and banker had used his wealth of experience for the benefit of the private sector, especially the banking industry, at a most challenging period of the country’s economic development.
Sanwo-Olu stated, “On behalf of my adorable wife, Ibijoke, and the good people of Lagos State, I heartily congratulate the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, on the occasion of his Diamond Jubilee.”
The governor said attaining the age of 60 year in grace was worth celebrating, considering Emefiele’s remarkable track record in the financial world. He said the CBN governor’s performance had earned him an enviable place as Governor of Nigeria’s apex bank.
According to Sanwo-Olu, over the years, Emefiele has proved his worth as a good manager of human and capital resources in both the private and public sectors.
The governor stated, “As CBN Governor, Emefiele has been a worthy partner in our administration’s quest to build a Greater Lagos for millions of Lagosians, by creatively working with us in some areas of intervention aimed at building institutions for sustainable economic growth and development of Lagos State.
“Mr. Emefiele’s intellectual input to the nation’s economy in this globally economic depressing period has helped in no small measure to stabilise the business environment, while restoring confidence in the ecosystem.
“As Mr. Godwin Emefiele celebrates his Diamond Jubilee, I wish him good health and more fruitful years. I pray that God will continue to preserve and grant him good health to enable him render more service to humanity and our dear nation.”
Emefiele has been at the forefront of Nigeria’s economic diversification drive, by providing the critical financial support to operators in the non-oil sector. Under him, the CBN has rolled out massive development interventions in critical sectors of the economy, especially in agriculture, manufacturing, and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
The interventions Emefiele include the SME Credit Guarantee Scheme (SMECGS); Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF); Agri-business/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS); Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI); Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) and the Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (NYIF); the Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YEDP); and the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), among several other development finance initiatives in the past seven years.
Under the MSMEDF, which charges nine per cent interest rate, the disbursement of over N83.9billion to 216,704 beneficiaries was recorded at the end of 2020. AGSMEIS is an initiative of the Bankers’ Committee, in collaboration with the CBN, that was also set up to improve access to affordable and sustainable finance by agri-businesses and MSMEs.
The initiatives have enhanced job creation and boosted the managerial capacity of agri-businesses and MSMEs.
So far, a total of N111.7 billion has been disbursed to 29,026 beneficiaries. Furthermore, a N50 billion Targeted Credit Facility was introduced in March 2020 as a stimulus package to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on households and MSMEs across the country. The fund has been increased N400 billion.
In terms of the ABP, over 3.1 million farmers have been financed for the cultivation of crops across 21 agricultural commodities. Also, a total of 3,107,890 farmers have been financed for the cultivation of 3,801,397 hectares across 21 commodities through 23 Participating Financial Institutions in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) from the inception of the programme till date.
For the YEDP, which was launched in 2016 to enhance the deployment of the ingenuity and resourcefulness of Nigerian youths to achieve maximum economic development, a total of N173.4 million has been disbursed to over 67 beneficiaries. The target beneficiaries are members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), non-NYSC (but not more than five years post-NYSC), holders of verifiable tertiary institution certificates, and artisans with First School Leaving Certificate or a technical certificate or accredited proficiency certificate from the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).
Emefiele also earned his stripes as one of the heroes of the country’s efforts to contain COVID-19. The CBN under Emefiele’s leadership was proactive in mitigating the effects of the pandemic on the economy.
Immediately the first COVID-19 case was recorded in Lagos, the Emefiele-led CBN took decisive actions and unfolded a raft of measures to moderate the effect of the virus on households, businesses, and the economy.
Emefiele was also instrumental to the formation of the private-sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), which was able to mobilise billions of naira and has immensely supported the country’s COVID-19 fight by setting up healthcare facilities across the country and distributing palliatives to states. It also established a health sector grant to promote research in the development of vaccines, among other policy measures.
The health sector facility has provided loans to pharmaceutical companies to expand and open drug-manufacturing plants in the country, and it has helped hospitals and healthcare practitioners to expand and build health facilities.