Central Bank Retains Benchmark Rate at 11.5%

By Bashir Olanrewaju

The Central Bank of Nigeria left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 11.5 percent at the latest meeting of its monetary policy committee in the face of mounting inflationary pressures.

“All other parameters remain unchanged,” Godwin Emefiele, governor of the central bank, said at Tuesday briefing, referring to other monetary policy tools employed by the regulator.

Emefiele noted accelerating inflation, pointing out the soaring costs of food amid growing insecurity affecting the agricultural supply chain and the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. December inflation was 15.75 percent, with food inflation at 19.56 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.