Northern Nigerian Breaking News

Nigeria’s Central Bank raises MPR: A bold move in turbulent economic time

By Muhammad Baba Bello, PhD 

In a bold and somewhat surprising move, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has decided to raise the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) by a substantial 400 basis points to 22.75%.

This decision, undoubtedly, has significant implications not only for Nigeria’s monetary policy framework but also for its overall economic landscape. 

First and foremost, let’s dissect the meaning of this decision. The MPR, often referred to as the benchmark interest rate, is the rate at which the central bank lends to commercial banks. By raising the MPR to 22.75%, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is signalling a tightening of monetary policy. In simple terms, borrowing money becomes more expensive. This move aims to rein in inflation and stabilize the currency amidst economic uncertainties. 

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Now, let’s probe deeper into the rationale behind such a drastic hike. Nigeria, like many emerging economies, faces a myriad of economic challenges. Inflation has been on an upward trajectory, fuelled by a combination of factors including supply chain disruptions, rising commodity prices, and fiscal deficits. Additionally, the Nigerian naira has come under pressure, with depreciation against major currencies posing risks to macroeconomic stability. 

In such a scenario, the CBN is faced with the unenviable task of maintaining price stability while supporting economic growth. However, achieving this delicate balance is no mean feat, especially in the face of external headwinds and domestic constraints.

The decision to raise the MPR reflects the CBN’s commitment to tackling inflation head-on, even if it means sacrificing short-term growth prospects. 

It’s important to note that the CBN’s decision doesn’t exist in isolation. Alongside the MPR hike, other monetary policy parameters such as the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) and Liquidity Ratio have been adjusted.  The CRR, which dictates the percentage of deposits banks must hold as reserves, has been set at 45%. This means banks have less money available to lend, helping control inflation.

Similarly, the Liquidity Ratio, which mandates the proportion of liquid assets banks must hold, has been set at 30%, ensuring stability in times of financial stress.

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Furthermore, the CBN has introduced an Asymmetric Corridor, a range around the MPR within which it sets interest rates for its lending facilities. This mechanism encourages interbank lending and borrowing, reducing reliance on the CBN for funding and also, providing it with the necessary tools to fine-tune monetary conditions as needed. 

However, while the intention behind the MPR hike is clear, its impact on the broader economy is less certain. On one hand, higher interest rates could dampen consumer spending and investment, potentially slowing down economic activity. This could be particularly concerning given Nigeria’s aspirations for sustainable growth and development.

On the other hand, a tighter monetary stance could help anchor inflation expectations, thereby restoring confidence in the currency and attracting foreign investment. 

Nevertheless, the success of the CBN’s monetary policy hinges not only on the effectiveness of its measures but also on the government’s commitment to implementing complementary fiscal reforms. Monetary policy can only do so much in isolation. Structural issues such as infrastructure deficits, regulatory bottlenecks, and governance challenges must be addressed to unlock Nigeria’s full economic potential. 

In conclusion, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s decision to raise the MPR by 400 basis points to 22.75% is a bold move aimed at addressing the country’s pressing economic challenges. While the short-term implications may entail some pain, particularly for borrowers, the long-term benefits could outweigh the costs. However, success will ultimately depend on a coordinated effort between monetary and fiscal authorities to navigate the complexities of Nigeria’s economic landscape.

Only time will tell whether this gamble pays off, but one thing is certain: decisive action is needed to steer Nigeria towards a path of sustainable and inclusive growth. 

Muhammad Baba Bello, PhD 

Department of Agricultural Economics, Bayero University Kano, Nigeria 


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