Nigerian Central Bank Holds Benchmark Interest Rate at 11.5%

By Sahabi Abdul

The Central Bank of Nigeria left the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 11.5 percent, saying time was needed for the effects of the surprise cut it made in September to be felt.

The Monetary Policy Committee voted unanimously to keep the current rate, after weighing the relative benefits of raising or lowering rates, CBN governor,  Godwin Emefiele, said at a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday.

The committee  reasoned that a hold position “would be beneficial as it would allow current policy measures to permeate the economy,” Emefiele said.

The MPC meeting came a week after the latest inflation numbers showing a jump to 14. 23 percent,  and days after latest gross domestic product data indicated Nigeria had entered its second recession in four years, after third quarter GDP fell 3.62 percent.

Nigeria’s economy has been assailed by the twin impact of the prolonged lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus and the collapse of oil demand. Crude oil accounts for more than 60 percent of government revenue and more than 90 percent of foreign-exchange income