Tony Elumelu says Nigeria on track to stabilise economy

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Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Tony Elumelu says he believes the naira will appreciate against the dollar, expressing optimism in Nigeria’s economic recovery.

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Elumelu spoke in an interview with Bloomberg on Thursday.

The monetary policy committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had recently raised the monetary policy rate (MPR), which benchmarks interest rates, from 18.75 percent to 22.75 percent.

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Speaking on the decisions of the apex bank at the last MPC meeting, Elumelu, who doubles as chairman of Transnational Corporation (Transcorp), said those are the exact decisions he would take in such circumstances.

“So I believe, hopefully, let’s just continue. Let’s not relent. Early days are just starting. It seems one can be fairly and cautiously optimistic that we are getting there. We are on the right track,” he said.

Elumelu said the process of transformation takes time.

He said there are a few initial pains “but stay focused, stay the course, be consistent and be sincere and committed to it, fixing the issues, making sure that interest rate is not negative to the investor”.

“It is an inflationary situation and that we are contracting as much as possible so that we have fewer naira chasing dollars. Giving confidence to the market that we have forwards, don’t worry about the forwards,” the entrepreneur said.

“This is what we are doing about it. We are reducing it and we have plans to do more. I think ultimately naira will come down, I believe. When? I don’t know but I am encouraged as an economist and as an investor.

“I am encouarged for what I see. I believe in the medium to long term, things will begin to normalise. Do I expect any quick fix immediately? It’s started but I think it will take a bit of time.”

Elumelu said in the medium to long-term, the country will “get it” but needs to get the fundamentals right.

 

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