By Milcah Tanimu
LAGOS — Heightened economic anxiety looms in Nigeria as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has, for the second consecutive time, deferred the bi-monthly Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting. The delay raises apprehension among Nigerians grappling with the harsh impact of rising inflation and the depreciation of the naira.
Established to achieve price stability and support the Federal Government’s economic policy, the MPC, as outlined in the CBN Act 2007, Section 12, serves as the apex bank’s highest policy-making body. Its responsibilities include reviewing economic and financial conditions, determining the policy stance, regularly assessing the monetary policy framework, and effectively communicating policy decisions.
Traditionally held every two months, the September 25th and 26th meeting was initially deferred due to changes in the bank’s leadership. Despite the escalating inflation rate, reaching 27.33% in October, and ongoing naira depreciation, the November MPC meeting did not take place, with no official statement from the CBN.
Sources close to the CBN indicate that the MPC, mandated to meet a minimum of four times, has fulfilled this requirement for the year, making another meeting non-compulsory. However, financial sector participants express concern, asserting that this delay impedes critical investment decisions, heightening uncertainty and risk in the economy.
Muda Yusuf, CEO of the Centre for the Promotion of Public Enterprise (CPPE), emphasized the statutory and informational significance of MPC meetings, calling for proper communication of reasons behind the postponement to avoid exacerbating economic uncertainty.
Nnamdi Nwizu, Co-Founder of Comercio Partners, noted the unusual situation of two consecutive MPC meeting deferrals, highlighting the need for a communicated new date to address the uncertainty surrounding monetary policy.
Economist and investment strategist Ayorinde Akinloye expressed perplexity over the decision to postpone the MPC meeting, foreseeing heightened uncertainty in the system and suggesting that investors are left guessing about the current CBN administration’s monetary policy direction.