Show Some Fiscal Discipline, Sanusi Tells Nigerian Government

20 Billion Dollars Missing From Nigeria's State Owned Oil Company
Lamido Sanusi is widely regarded as a man of integrity who rescued Nigeria’s financial sector from the brink of collapse

AFRICANGLOBE – Sanusi, who said this after receiving Forbes African Person of the Year at a dinner in Lagos, said Nigeria could not achieve stable exchange and low interest rates with her current spending pattern.

According to him, “If you want to achieve a stable interest and exchange rate you’ve got to show discretion in fiscal spending and discourage imports. You cannot be exporting crude oil and be importing refined petrol. I will like to see a low interest rate but we have to ensure that we reduce inflation to the barest minimum. It is time we stopped talking about potentials and our dream of overtaking South Africa, our generation can do it and I believe that 2012 is the time for Nigeria.”

He said Nigeria had to show discretion in the importation of foods and petroleum products and reduce fiscal spending so as to have sustainable economic development.

Sanusi thanked President Goodluck Jonathan, all finance ministers since late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and the 5,000 staff members of CBN including the deputy governors for making it possible for him to achieve the feat, he so far recorded.

Responding to insinuations that jobs have been lost in the banking sector as a result of his reforms, the governor said the role of the regulator was not to create jobs but to create an environment to make business thrive.

He noted that banks had to lay off staff because many of them went under, adding that the banks were not highly employing sector but a facilitator of finances to the real economy to create jobs.

Forbes Person of the Year award is bestowed on individuals in the Africa who have excelled in their field of endeavour and as a result influenced their society for better or for worse. The award is organised by ABN Commission, publishers of Forbes Africa magazine and nomination is done by online voting by Africans and management of ABN and CNBC Africa.

The Forbes African Person of the Year award is the first to be held in Africa after the successful conclusion of the African Business Personality of the Year won by Alhaji Aliko Dangote.

Nominees for this year’s award included the CBN governor, the President of Liberia, Mrs Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson, former President of Cape Verde Pedro Veron, Alhaji Aliko Dangote and the late Nobel laureate, Prof. Wangari Maathai of Kenya.

Project Director, Forbes Africa, Mr. Sid Wahi, said Forbes’ process of selecting the person of the year was a rigorous one, adding that there was no better person at this time to be so honoured.

Speaking at the occasion, Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, noted that the award was a testimony to the fact that when good men commit themselves to doing a good job the rest of the world will be watching.

He, however, noted that the bold bank reforms had characterised the loss of jobs in the industry and as a result tough economic situations.

He therefore stressed that the CBN should collaborate with state governments to ensure that 1 per cent of their annual budget is set aside to assist the SMEs so as to create jobs.

Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fasola noted that there was a new global order in doing business in Africa and stressed that Africa must be at the centre stage.

He therefore pledged the commitment of the state government to provide the enabling environment for business to thrive and welcomed the entrant of Forbes into the Nigerian market.