Lagos - The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Lamido Sanusi, has said the country’s external reserves never overshot the $67 billion mark during late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s administration.
Sanusi said this on Tuesday in Lagos while speaking as guest speaker at the Metropolitan Club’s forum.
He said the highest external reserves recorded during Yar’Adua’s regime was $62 billion, saying the controversy surrounding the matter was unnecessary.
The CBN governor added that the decline in the nation’s reserves was as a result of exigencies, stressing that governments worldwide spend part of their reserves whenever the need arose.
``You save money when prices of oil are high and you spend when prices are low.
``It is part of the excess crude account that we used to finance the oil subsidy,’’ he said.
Sanusi said the spending of external reserves by the government was transparent and could be accounted for.
He also said CBN was working with the Ministry of Finance to block all leakages in the system, and identified corruption as one of the major problems facing the country.
The CBN governor explained that the reform agenda in all sectors would resort to sound economy in future.
He urged Nigerians to join hands to fight corruption in all areas of the economy, saying this was the cause of distortion and destruction to the economy.
‘’We fought it in the banking sector and we can all see the positive results.
‘’However, it is not only banks that we have thieves. They are everywhere. So, other sectors should follow the CBN example,” he said.
Sanusi said CBN’s the intervention in critical sectors of the economy was already having positive impact in the power and agricultural sectors.
“Beyond our core functions, we have a responsibility to grow other sectors of the economy. Banks must play their intermediation role in assisting the real economy for the creation of jobs,” he said.
The CBN governor said stability in the financial market showed that the bank had achieved milestones in its role.
``Part of the milestones is the inflation rate standing at a single digit, stable exchange rate and the rising reserves,’’ he said.
Sanusi however frowned at the over-reliance on oil which forms 80 per cent of the nation’s revenue, noting that oil subsidy which was N290 billion in 2009 had hit N2.1 trillion in 2011.