By News Desk
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) round-table to organised to discuss economic opportunities has suffered setbacks after founder of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, Atedo Peterside, rejected the Apex bank’s invitation to be a panelist at its Consultative Roundtable Session.
Peterside’s rejection of the invitation came barely 24 hours to the event on Wednesday, aimed by CBN to garner fresh solutions to steer the country’s economy after South Africa entered recession.
The Stanbic IBTC Holdings founder, in a letter sent to the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, on Tuesday, said his decision is due to the removal of Muhammad Sanusi II as Emir of Kano, and his eventual exile to Nasarawa State.
Sanusi had been deposed by the Kano State government on Monday on the allegation that he consistently refused to abide by instructions given to him.
The decision split opinions with many blasting the government for it, while others argued that the government was within its rights.
Peterside, who described Sanusi’s removal and exile as “disturbing news”, believes that boycotting the roundtable is the correct thing to do under the circumstances.
“I have decided to stay away from your Consultative Roundtable and to instead use the opportunity of this letter to draw the attention of a wider audience to my displeasure with the events of yesterday,” he said.
“Please forgive me because I am in no mood to immediately pretend as if all is well by proceeding with business as usual.”
For him, the action of the Kano State government “confirmed what can go wrong when those in authority pay lip service to the Nigerian Constitution and then proceed to violate the fundamental freedoms that it guarantees each individual because they prefer to cling to practices like exile which they learnt from colonial masters and the military”.
“These practices have no place in a democratic dispensation,” he wrote.
Although he is boycotting the roundtable session, he used his letter to make some observations about the theme which is “Going for growth” and faulted what he described as policy inconsistencies by the Central Bank.
According to him, Rapid growth is only achieved on the back of significant investment activity.
“Going for growth should, therefore, be a holistic concept that embraces the sum total of actions and activities that we need to encourage in order to boost investor confidence, including respect of individual freedoms and the rule of law,” he said.
“Sadly, yesterday’s events have turned back the clock at a time when our economy is at a precipice and when we need to tell ourselves some home truths and speak truth to power in a constructive manner.”
Concerning policy inconsistencies, Peterside accused the CBN of continuing to “seek to defy the odds by simultaneously pursuing a low domestic interest rate regime which clearly cannot coexist with high inflation and naira exchange rate stability in the face of collapsed/collapsing oil prices and an insatiable and uncontrolled appetite for foreign currency loans”.
“This unsustainable policy mix has spooked investors (local and foreign), thereby making it increasingly likely that the Nigerian economy slides back into a recession, unless you quickly embark on some course correction,” he added.