Nigeria risk defaulting on its debts, like Ghana if…


Africa’s largest economy is a few meters from going bust,” said Mosope Arubayi, an economist at IC Group in Lagos. The country risks defaulting on its debts, like its West African neighbor Ghana, if action isn’t taken soon, she said.

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Nigeria’s newly appointed central bank Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, has made it a top priority to address the lingering issue of unsettled foreign exchange obligations to local lenders, which he estimates to be around $7 billion. Cardoso’s nomination was unanimously approved by the Senate, along with the confirmation of four new deputy governors.

The nomination of Cardoso, former chairman of Citigroup Inc. in Nigeria, has offered a glimmer of hope to weary investors. A longtime adviser to Tinubu, Cardoso is widely expected to abandon the unorthodox policies of his predecessor, Godwin Emefiele, under whose nine-year tenure the central bank maintained multiple exchange rates and rationed dollars, repelling investment.

Cardoso has committed to enhancing transparency, addressing corporate governance issues, and restoring confidence in the autonomy and integrity of the central bank. President Bola Tinubu had emphasized the need for significant changes in monetary policy following his inauguration in May, citing concerns about the previous governor’s management of the currency.

To tackle the forex backlog, Cardoso stressed the importance of swiftly finding a resolution, acknowledging that progress in the foreign exchange market would be limited without addressing this issue. His agenda also includes maintaining price stability, adopting evidence-based monetary policies, and discontinuing the unorthodox policies of his predecessor in order to strengthen Nigeria’s naira currency.

Cardoso assumed office on September 22 in an acting capacity, taking over after the suspension and subsequent legal issues faced by the former central bank chief, Godwin Emefiele. These developments occur amidst a challenging economic backdrop, with the naira hitting a record low, reaching 1,000 naira per dollar in the parallel market. The official exchange rate stands at 785 to the dollar as of 1710 GMT, and the gap between the official and parallel markets has widened due to unmet forex demand and speculative activity in street trading, exacerbated by liquidity issues.

Godwin Okafor
Godwin Okafor
Godwin Okafor is a veteran Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur, and the visionary Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. With an extensive career spanning over 16 years in financial journalism, Godwin possesses a wealth of experience that seamlessly bridges both traditional and digital media landscapes. His journey in journalism commenced at Business Day, Nigeria, where he laid the foundation for his prolific career. In 2010, Godwin took a bold step by founding Naija247news Media, a platform that has since become a prominent player in delivering timely and accurate news. Educationally, Godwin Okafor holds a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the prestigious Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. His commitment to continuous learning led him to the Lagos Business School, where he further honed his skills. Additionally, he is recognized as a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania, having successfully completed the Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists. Throughout his illustrious career, Godwin has earned acclaim by winning numerous journalism awards, a testament to his dedication to excellence in reporting. Beyond his role as a Financial Journalist, Godwin Okafor wears the hat of the Chairman at Emmerich Resources Limited, the publishing entity behind Naija247news. His visionary leadership has played a pivotal role in shaping the media landscape and establishing Naija247news as a trusted source of information. Godwin Okafor's multifaceted expertise, commitment to journalistic integrity, and leadership in the realm of business journalism underscore his influential presence in both the media and entrepreneurial spheres.

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