Emefiele released the figures at the opening of a consultative roundtable organised by the Bank in Abuja. He explained that the bank imposed restrictions on access to OMO auctions in order to encourage banks to lend to the real sector. He said the banking sector indeed responded positively which resulted in the rise in aggregate industry credit.
“One of the critical measures that helped to boost growth in 2019, was the impact of the Central Bank’s new minimum loan to deposit ratio, which was initially at sixty percent and subsequently raised to sixty-five percent.
“I am aware that these loans have been granted to borrowers across different sectors at considerably lower rates.
“Although a lot more still needs to be done. We intend to sustain these policy measures, as it will help support improved economic growth and create more employment opportunities,” he stated.
Emefiele, however, noted that in the last three years, the Nigerian economy had remained on a positive growth path as GDP growth remained in positive territory for the eleventh consecutive quarter, following the 2016 to 2017 economic recession.
He said in the fourth quarter of 2019, GDP growth stood at Two-point fifty-five percent. This was the highest rate of quarterly growth attained since 2016, surpassing the expectation of several analysts, who had predicted a two-point-two percent growth.
He stated that for the year 2019, GDP growth stood at two-point twenty-seven percent relative to negative one-point six percent in 2016, highlighting the impact of fiscal and monetary policy measures that had helped support growth in critical sectors of the Nigerian economy such as Agriculture, Industry, Oil and Gas, and ICT.
Speaking on risk to growth, the governor said notwithstanding the current measures aimed at supporting growth, the country’s economy faces considerable challenges.
“GDP growth remains below our annual population growth rate at two-point six percent. Second, our reliance on crude oil for more than eighty percent of our foreign exchange earnings and sixty percent of government revenues, means our economy is exposed to the impact of the coronavirus on crude oil prices,” he continued.
Emefiele noted that the purpose of the Roundtable Session, which has the theme “Going for Growth 2.0”, was to address domestic and external challenges to growth required and to get input from critical stakeholders who could generate great and workable ideas and solutions.
“We must all work together in order to harness the true potential of our nation. This one-day roundtable session will address some of the measures needed to drive double-digit growth rate in Nigeria,” he concluded.