Day UNN economics department organised second home – coming event

Emeka Ugwuoju


On Saturday, July 22, the sleepy town of Nsukka in Enugu State witnessed the influx of some prominent Nigerians, which include Governor Of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr Godwin Emefiele, Convener, Concerned Nigerian Professionals and Entrepreneurs Forum, Mr. Emeka Ugwuoju and other academics, professionals and entrepreneurs.

They converged at the Princess Alexandra Auditorium, University of Nigeria Nsukka to witness the Second Home-Coming event of the Economics Department of the university.
Speaking at the occasion, Ugwuoju, who is also a graduate of the department said: “On a personal note, I am very delighted and honoured to be part of an official departmental event for the first time since I graduated from this department in 1979.

“I am proud of my association with this department, a department that has produced illustrious and renowned economists such as Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, former CBN Governor and Chief Economic Adviser to the President, Prof Osita Ogbu, former Chief Economic Adviser to the President and Dr. Abraham Nwankwo, immediate past Director General, Debt Management Office. I believe that we have, in this hall today, students who, after graduation, will continue to hold aloft the worthy pace-setting legacy that has become the trademark of not only the department, but the entire university. I am proud to be an alumnus.”

He continued: “I will like to use this opportunity to comment on an issue that has been bothering some of us, as Concerned Nigerian Professionals and Entrepreneurs. It is the seeming indifference of the Nigerian academic community, both staff and students, to two major hot button issues tearing the nation apart at the moment. One is self-determination and the other is political/Economic restructuring of Nigeria. On the self- determination front, we hear of Islamic Caliphate of Nigeria, Biafra, Oduduwa Republic and Niger Delta Republic. But the two very active movements at the moment are the Islamic Caliphate of Nigeria being championed by the terrorist group Boko Haram who at a point in time occupied vast swathes of Nigerian territory and the Biafran movement led by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB. In the arena of Restructuring you have the Southern Elders and Leaders on one side of the debate and the Northern Elders and Arewa Consultative Forum on the other side.

“To make matters worse our President and Commander in Chief has been indisposed for a reasonable length of time, but luckily we have an Acting President who is level-headed and calm under pressure. His handling of issues, his courage in the face of danger, his humility in the midst of provocation and his patience to lend an ear to every grievance, have combined to create an atmosphere of inclusion, douse the raging inferno of national distrust and hold at bay the looming national implosion.

“But in all this national ferment, where are the institutions of higher learning? It is expected that the higher institutions should provide leadership and direction in the current discourse on the national question. For instance, though I was young at the time, I remember vividly that the UNN was the main center of discourse prior to the declaration of independence or Biafra in 1967. What is the situation now? Has the faculty of social sciences of UNN organised any major colloquium on the Biafra question?

In his presentation, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) assured that the current recession being faced by Nigeria would end before the end of the year, even as it attributed over dependence on importation to the cause of the problem.

CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, stated this while delivering a lecture entitled: “The Dilemma of Monetary Policy and Exchange Rate Management in a Recession: Potential Options for Nigeria” at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). He said he was optimistic that with all the interventions of federal Government, the CBN and other authorities, “the country will be out of recession before the end of 2017.”

He stated that no country of the world could have survived by the kind of importation of foreign goods Nigeria experienced, stressing that Nigerians began to feel the negative part of the system when there was not enough resources to sustain the importation regime.

According to Emefiele, who graduated from the University: “In January 2017 inflation was 18.8%, it is now down to 16.24%; Last quarter which was fourth quarter of 2016 growth was negative 1.72%. First quarter of 2017 growth had improved to negative 1.52%.

“What that means is that we see an improvement in growth by about 1.2%. If we see another 1.2 growth in the second quarter we are out of recession”.He noted that with the enthusiasm shown by the federal government in the area of agriculture, “by supports for local farmers and private sector investments in agriculture, I believe that barring any other shock the prices of foodstuff in the markets will come down”.

The CBN boss, expressed regrets that the country missed the opportunity of being a great economy when it abandoned agriculture which was its backbone between 1960s and 1970s for oil. “In those good days the South East and South South are known for palm oil, the South West for f cocoa and the North for groundnut but with the advent of oil we abandoned agriculture.

“Countries like Netherland is oil producing country but also produces Agriculture in large quantities majority of fish we consume in this country is from Netherland,” he said.He noted that the ideal of importing all that the country consumes was responsible for the current recession.

“How do we justify the importation of items like apple, cucumber and eggs from South Africa, beef from Zambia and toothpicks from China?“These are items we can locally produce and used money in importing these items to beef up local industries that will in turn create employments for our youths.

“We must take cognisance of the fact that imports are leakages to every economy,” he said.The CBN governor said the apex bank was aware of the pains Nigerians are going through as a result of the economic recession and said this is the opportunity needed to look inward to diversify the economy and come of the recession stronger.

“This recession provide opportunity for us to look inward, diversify the economy, produce locally and create employments for our youths.“We must diversify our economy; go back to agriculture as we cannot survive as a people by importing everything.

“We must export more and import few items in other to make our economy strong and increase our foreign exchange earnings,” he said.The Vice-Chancellor of University of Nigerian, Nsukka, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba expressed appreciation for the governor of the apex bank for accepting the invitation to deliver the lecture and described the CBN governor as one of the best alumni of the university.

Ozumba said the importance of economics in any county could not be over-emphasis, the decision of economists determines the progress or failure of any country. “Economists play vita role in any country as they determine what the economy of any country will look like.“I commend the department of economic for organizing this home coming which attracted CBN governor who is an alumnus of the department,” he said.

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CBNEmeka Ugwuoju


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