Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, have exonerated themselves from blame by the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Lamiso Sanusi, who had decried the poor attendance of governors and ministers at the US-Nigeria Investment Summit at the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings.
The Emir, a former central bank governor, had said that the poor showing at the summit, organized on the sidelines of the Meetings in Washington DC, was discouraging to investors.
Adeosun said that as the representative of 23 African countries, which includes Nigeria, her role includes attending statutory meetings as well as issuing statements.
She explained that as a governor of the IMF and member of International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), she is to adhere to schedule, and had not been scheduled to be at the Investment Summit.
“I am a member of the highest decision making body of the IMF and I represent 23 African countries in that role. So one of the things I have to do is to issue a statements on half of those 23 countries, which includes most of the Anglophone countries, [including] South Africa, [and] Mozambique. So my primary role here, as well as having the Nigerian hat on, is to represent the 23 African countries,” the Finance Minister explained.
“There has been some controversy over the scheduling. I wasn’t due at any event. I was here as a governor of the IMF and member of IMFC to represent the 23 African countries and that schedule is what I must adhere to. I think maybe there was some scheduling challenges there,” she said.
Emefiele, on his part said, explained that as Governor of the CBN what takes preeminence are meetings with the IMF and the World Bank.
“I think it is important for me to say this; when I arrive in Washington, the officials of the [Nigerian] Embassy spoke with me that there was going to be a US-Nigeria summit, and I said will check my schedule because I wasn’t consulted when this summit was being organized. What one would have expected is that they would have checked my schedule and that of the Finance Minister if they thought that our presence at the summit was very necessary. They could have checked our schedule to see that there was no conflict.
“I sit here to say the US-Nigeria Summit was meant to hold between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., whereas the World Bank Development Committee plenary session, which is an assembly of ministers and governors of central banks, was to hold between 2:15 and 5 p.m. There was no way the Minister of Finance and myself could have been at those meetings. But I think it is important to say it is unfair for people to begin to cast aspersions without understanding our schedules.
“The main reason we are here is because of the statutory meetings of the IMF and the World Bank. I feel I should explain this. We are not irresponsible people and please we apologise to those investors who had gathered at the Nigerian Embassy for the Summit. My apologies, but I know we also held some side meetings with some investors and there will always be lots of opportunities to meet with them. But I want to say this is not the fault of the Minister of Finance and myself the CBN Governor,” he stated.
Of the governors and ministers meant to have attended the Investors’ Summit, only the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, was present.