The Role of Central Bank of Nigeria in Stabilizing Nigeria Economy

The Role of Central Bank of Nigeria in Stabilizing Nigeria Economy

The Role of Central Bank of Nigeria – A central bank is the organ of government that undertakes the major financial operations of the government and by it’s conduct of these operations and by other means, influences the behaviours of financial institutions so as to support the economic policy of the government.

In other words, Central Bank stands as the apex of the banking system and it has a very close association with both the government and the banking sector of the economy.

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Stabilization role of the Central Bank of Nigeria via it’s monetary policy measures, if effectively managed and applied as at when necessary will see the economy through the turbulent water.

The Central Bank of Higher National Diploma has nurtured the financial institutions promoted the money market and capital markets and improved the payment systems, therefore creating the financial infrastructure for development to take place.

In line with current policy the Central Bank of Nigeria is about to promulgate is the N25 billion capital base which is aimed to bringing sanity into the banking sector as well as galvanizing the growth of the nation’s economy. In 1989, the Central Bank of Nigeria commenced the auctioning of treasury bills and is committed to the adoption of market based tools to control the money stock as well as sanitizing the financial system for improved performance.

Therefore, that the Bank is a macro-institution whose activities affect the whole national economic life. In the conduct of monetary management, however the central bank of Nigeria faces some challenges which include government fiscal operations over which the bank has no control, the problem of excess liquidity and excessive expansion of bank credit, and inadequate financial infrastructure in the acceptation of indirect approach of monetary control (CBN economic and financial review vol. 31 – No 3)

Full employment, balance of payment, equilibrium price stability, and high per capital income can not be achieved in the economy without the central bank who will be the body to monitor and regulate the monetary instruments used as introduced for the government and to the betterment of the economy.


Adekenif F. (1988) defined Central Bank as the apex bank of any country which is the representative of government in the banking sector and act mainly as Banker to the government and the banking sector of the economy, advising the government on monetary and implementation of the policy on behalf of the government.

Benji C. O. (1983) sees “the Central Bank of Nigeria as the national bank traditionally posses the monopoly of the issuance of legal tender in a country”. It is a entrusted with the custody of the cash reserves of the banking system and acts as tender to the government on monetary policy  and ensures that necessary steps are taken to carry it through.

Oho Eckstain (1968) defined monetary policy as ‘the credit control measures adopted by the monetary authority in regulating monetary flow in our economy.

Johnson (1969) defined monetary policy as “policy employed by Central Bank of Nigeria in controlling of supply of money as an instrument for achieving the objectives of general economic policy.

Olashare (1985) described the banking sector as ‘the mainstay of Nigeria economy through funds from surplus units of the economy, that are utilized by small and medium scale enterprises and always helped in no small way in the overall development of the economy. The participation of banks directly in the equality of small medium scale enterprise helped to overt the imminent collapse of these enterprise an untold hardship. He further assorted that the resultant effect of the banks assistance is an increase in production to increase in foreign exchange generated and increased in level of satisfying been consumption”.

  1. O. G. Otiti (1987) said that monetary policy continued to regulate money supply is not likely to be successful in steaming inflation. Since the significant variables are not money per see, but the supply relatives to demand for it, and the flexibility o demand for money makes the control of supply alone unreliable. It has to address itself control of the volume, cost direction, of liquidity rather than supply in the economy.

Ade J. Ojo (1982) “is of the opinion that the manner by which some monetary policy measures have been applied has violated the relative effectiveness of measures”.

According to him what seems to be very important in applying various forms of restrictive control measures have remain in force for sometime their effectiveness begins to diminish, and this is even more true where people have seen made to regard it is more or less of a permanent nature and the devised alternative means (usually less economic and less productive) of making the measure infringe less on their operations”.

  1. C. Onyido (1991) “opined that the problems of monetary policy effectiveness in Nigeria lies with appropriate mise and blend of monetary tools and fiscal policies. This therefore, suggested that monetary policy should be complemented by other policies such as fiscal and exchange rate enjoyed by Nigerians”.

Patrick Yalakwo (1990) put the CBN on the back for their effort in introducing the rural banking scheme. He said “that the scheme went a long way in mobilizing funds from the rural areas which are passes through the banking system. He further explain that currency in circulation need not be increased inflation but more money has to be created by banks. For easy transaction”.

Olu Falae (1990) described “the Central Bank of Nigeria especially banking sector as the bride maid and wife of the economy, in that bank in the economy of structural adjustment programme (SAP) and all policies like deregulation via interest rates, sectoral allocation, rural lending and making loan able funds available to users of such funds. There is no doubt that there is a correlation between development in the economy and the banking development in the economy and the banking sector of the financial sector”.

All over the world monetary policy is a major economic stabilization policy weapon.

Although monetary and fiscal policies tend towards the same goal of regulating the economic activities, they differ in some prospective, which lies mainly in the direction or methods which each policy take towards achieving the objectives.


Central Bank of Nigeria was established by the central bank of Nigeria ordinance of 1958, following the report of J. B Loyness. The bank commenced operations on 1st July 1969.


          Under the ordinance, the bank had an authorized capital of N300 million. Thee is no provision for any increase in the authorized capital.

The bank was authorized, subject to the confirmation, by minister of finance, to any portion of the authorized capital that could be paid up.

The whole of the authorized capital was fully paid by the federal government. The ordinance stipulated that all the paid up capital shall be subscribed and held only by the federal government.

There is no provision for the participation of state government or that of the private sector in the ownership of the bank. As such, central bank of Nigeria is wholly owned by the federal government of Nigeria.

As publicly owned institution, the central bank of Nigeria is not expected to be government primarily by profit motivation in discharging its duties, overall public interest was to be the primary consideration. This is quite unlike the commercial banks where profit maximization is very vital.

However, central bank of Nigeria is not expected to run at a loss, it is expected to operate at a profit from which it was to meet all it’s current expenditure plus provision for bad and doubtful debts, depreciation and other contingencies. The balance would be profit.

Out of this profit, the ordinance and its subsequent require the bank to maintain a general reserve fund. Every 1/8 of the net profit are to be transferred to the reserve fund until the fund equal or double the amount of the paid up capital.

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After these allocation have been made 50% of the balance of the net profit is to be applied for the elimination of any outstanding obligation of the federal government to the bank arising from the financial of the cost of the printing, minting and shipping of the initial stock of the bank notes and coins (seignior age). The remaining 50% is paid over to the federal government.


          The major objectives for setting up the central bank of Nigeria remain as valid as when the idea of a Nigeria central bank was initially conceptualized. Part of the terms of reference given in 1957 to Mr. J. B. Loynes, an adviser to the bank of England who was mandated to examine the feasibility of central bank of Nigeria stated that he should explore the possibility of:

  1. The introductions of a federal institution to perform appropriate central banking functions.
  2. The issuance of Nigeria currency and the administration of such currency so as to preserve it’s external value and it’s acceptability within the country and
  3. Prescription of the role of such an institution in the development of local money and capital markets.

Specifically, the principal objectives of the central bank of Nigeria as stated in the central bank of Nigeria decree 24 section 4, and its subsequent amendments and the central bank of Nigeria (currency conversion act of 1967) and its amendments are:

  1. To issue legal tender currency in Nigeria
  2. To maintain external reserves.
  3. To safeguard the valve of the currency.
  4. To promote monetary stability an a sound financial system.
  5. Act as baker and adviser to the federal government.
  6. As a banker to the bankers.

These objectives defines the role of the bank in the overall banking industry as well as the economy in general.       


A central bank perform three basic functions which can be classified as the traditional (service) monetary and developments functions to enhance it to perform it’s role in stabilizing economy (central bank of Nigeria its functions and activities CBN Briefs 1994)


  1. The achievement of relative stability of domestic prices.
  2. The maintenance of a healthy balance of payments position and a stable exchange rate.
  • The promotion of a rapid and sustainable rate.
  1. The development of a sound financial system.


          The 1958 Central Bank of Nigeria act and Central bank of Nigeria Decree 1991 provide that one of the key functions of the CBN shall be to act as Banker and Financial adviser to the federal government. The CBN maintains federal government account and under takes most government public enterprises and  agencies also maintain accounts with the central bank of Nigeria. in this regard the CBN has the role responsibility of receiving and accounting for the revenues of the federation. The federal government in May 1989 directed all its parastals and agencies to withdraw their account from commercial banks and lodge them with the central bank of Nigeria.

A banker to the federal government, the CBN not only maintains account for the government, it also accepts responsibility for the financing of its expenditure gaps. The CBN mobilizes funds for the federal government through the issuance of government  securities, such as treasury bills and certificates development bonds, and treasury bond.



          The Central Bank of Nigeria act of 1958 and CBN Decree No 24 of 1991 (section 37 & 38) clearly specify that the Central Bank of Nigeria as the apex financial institution must promote confidence in the financial system through its activities as banker to other banks and may seek the co-operation of other banks in pursuit of this objectives. The CBN must formulate policies for the introduction of appropriate payments instruments and supportive of the efficient functioning of the payments system. In this regard, it facilitates the clearing of cheques and credit instruments through its clearing houses. The CBN issues directives on cash reserves and liquidity ratios, prudential requirements, sectoral credit allocations and on other activities of banks. This is achieved through its monetary policy Guidelines. The CBN is expected to promote a sound financial system through banking supervision and examination. This enables the central bank of Nigeria to  monitor the activities and performance of financial institution on periodic basis.


          This is one of the oldest functions of the central bank of Nigeria. The CBN by law is the only bank authorized to issue currency. It does not only issue currency, but the CBN also involved in its distribution, safe of custody of stocks and management of orders. Without the regular and timely distribution of the currency economic activities wound be disrupted.


          The impact of a Central Bank is felt mostly through its conduct of monetary policy. It may be defined as a measure designed to regulate and control the volume, cost and direction of money and credit in the economy, to achieve some specified macro-economic as stated earlier, usually commercial banks are the main vehicle of monetary policy because they play quite a significant role in making credit available.


          The Central Bank of Nigeria Decree of 1991 (No 24 & 25) states that the banks principal objectives shall be to issue legal tender currency in Nigeria to maintain external reserves to safeguard the international valve of the currency to promote monetary stability and a sound financial structure in Nigeria price stability which is achieved through effective monetary policy is a dispensable for money supply to perform its role in an economy. The CBN also sets the growth rate of money supply to be compatible with overall macro – economic policy goals. The CBN is expected to monitor and allocate foreign exchange resources such that foreign exchange allocation and usage are compatible with macro-economic objective of the government.


          The Central bank of Nigeria grants temporary facilities to banks and discount houses when they are in liquidity crisis. This assists to give confidence to the financial system and enhances the banking system ability to withstand economic stock.


          The developmental activities of the Central Bank of Nigeria include the promotion of the growth of the money and capital markets. This function embrace the active promotion of capital formation necessary to accelerate economic development, promotion and development of financial market, rural banking, export financing, promotion of small-scale and medium scale enterprises, management of external resources, external debt, consolidation of public sector accounts, involvement in banking licencing as well as other development functions.

CBN is also designed to help in the promotion of small and medium scale enterprises particularly in the small scale sector. In its policy guidelines, the CBN directed with effect from 30th April 1970 credit to indigenous was to be at least 35% of the banks total loans and advances which was raised to 40% in 1972 April 1977, 50% from May 1977, till end of 1977 and to 60 to 80 and 90% in the year 1978, 1979, 1982 and 1984 respectively. Even though the CBN raised indigenous borrowers, the banks concentrated on a marginal basis to some because of the perceived high risk involved with effect from January 1990, a minimum of 20% of total loans and advances is to be allocated to SME non compliance attract stiff penalties, while failure to render returns on SME attract penalties of N100 – N200 per day.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, since 1970, has been instrumental in promoting the stabilization and growth of wholly owned Nigeria enterprises. In its policy guidelines the bank directed that with effect from April 30, 1970 credit to indigenous borrows was to beat beast 35% of commercial and merchant banks, total loans and advances. The proportion of loans to indigenous borrows was raised in subsequent years with special emphasis on small –scale enterprises or this purpose, a small scale enterprises is defined as and enterprise whose total cost excluding cost of land but including working capital, is above N1 million but does not exceed N10 million. Banks wants to advances not less than 20% of their total loans and advances outstanding to small – scale enterprise. Non compliance attracts stiff penalties, while shortfalls (the undisturbed amount) is forwarded to the NBEC for our lending to small – scale business. banks are also encouraged to acquire equity in industrial enterprise, particularly with the promulgation of the Bank and other financial institution Decree (BOFID) No 25 of 1991.

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          To encourage banking habit nation wide and channel funds in rural development, the Central bank of Nigeria introduced the rural banking scheme in June, 1977 in three phases 1977 – 1980, 1980 – 1985 and 1st August 1985 to 31st July 1989. As at the end of June 1992, 765 of the 766 branches stipulated by the  Central Bank of Nigeria had been opened. Also the CBN stipulated that not less than 50% of the deposit mobilized from the rural areas is to be advances as credit to rural borrowers.                               


          Through it’s monetary policy circulars the CBN had usually prescribed that not less than 15% of commercial and 10% merchant banks credit be granted to grace period on agricultural loan. One year for small scale peasant farming, four years for cash crop farming, five years for medium and large scale mechanized farming and seven years for ranching with a view to enhance the development of the country through manufacturing activities, the bank stipulates in its guidelines that not less than 3% of commercial and 40% merchant banks credit be granted to manufacturing enterprises.


          The bank has been vary achieve in promoting special schemes and funs to enhance economic growth and development. This has been in the areas of agricultural finances, export development and promotion of small and medium scale enterprises.

economic growth and development. This has been in the areas of agricultural finances, export development and promotion of small and medium scale enterprises.


The agricultural credit guarantee scheme (ACGS), established in 1977, took off in April,  1987 under the management of CBN while a Board of Director was constituted for policy making. the scheme was designed to encourage banks to increase lending to the agricultural sector by providing some form of guarantee against risks inherent in agricultural lending.


          The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) though it’s monetary and credit guidelines influences the lending policies of banks distribution of loans and advances, the CBN before 1987 categories bank loans and advances into what it calls the preferred and less preferred sector of the economy. The preferred sector of the economy is made up of the production sector which comprises of agriculture  manufacturing, mining and quarrying real estate construction, export services such as public utilities and communication. The less preferred section of the economy comprises of general commerce such imports, domestic trade, government credit, financial institutions personal and professional and others. The purpose of classifying he economy into these sector is to determine the percentage of credit allocation into these sectors.

However in 1987 there were standardization in terms of percentages that are allocated to both high priority sectors and other sectors.

It should be appreciated that the priority sector now includes only agricultural production, manufacturing enterprise, solid minerals and exports.

The Central Bank of Nigeria sectoral distribution of loans and advances were aimed at achieving the following objectives:

  1. Accelerating the rate of domestics production of the economy by expanding especially the productive capacities of agricultural manufacturing sectors.
  2. Reducing the rate of inflation.
  3. Attaining a healthy balance of payment position in terms of an acceptable level of external reserves.

The best complementary monetary tool is selective credit control because this ensures that financial resources are directed to the socio-economic sectors according to the priority given by the planners.         


Monetary policy can be defined as the combination of measures which the Central Bank designed to regulate the supply of money to an economy, specifically, it is designed to regulate the availability or quantify, cost and direction of credit in order to attain stated national economic objectives. In order words it is part of the overall economic policy that regulates the level of money or liquidity in the desired policy objectives.

Monetary policy usually involves the concentration and expansion of money supply, the manipulation of interest rate to make borrowing easier and cheaper or more difficult and dearer depending on prevailing economic condition and the channeling of funds to growth sectors for increased output. It also ensures that the supply of money and cost of credit to an economy is quite adequate supply desirable and sustainable growth without generating such inflationary pressure that could lend to under depreciation in value of the domestic currency.



Efforts made though policy changes and their implementation  succeeded marginally in 1989 to moderate money supply after which it increased massively some of the salutary effects, which were achieved through the package of monetary and banking policy measures, include the stimulation of competition in the sector, greater efficiency in the allocation of resources and keeping the liquidity in the system from exploding further. In terms of preventing excess growth in credit and hence money stock arising from fiscal expansion, modest progress was made in 1995 and 1996 compared with the explosion in the previous years.


The objectives of monetary policy include:

–        The control of inflation and maintenance of relative price stability,

–        Accelerating the peace of economic development and growth and stimulating employment opportunities.

–        Mobilizing increased domestic savings to facilitate domestic capital formation.

–        Increasing the flow of credit to the priority sectors of the economy especially the agricultural and manufacturing sectors.

Other objectives of monetary policy in Nigeria include protecting local industrial from unfavourable foreign competitive and smugglers, reducing indebtedness abroad and generating more especially from the non-oil sector of the economy.

Some of the objectives of monetary policy are only achieved at the expense of others. For instance there is a trade off between inflation and unemployment. That is to say that the goal of full empl conflicts with the goal of stabilization of domestic prices. An adverse balance of payments may require a restrictive policy, which is not always conducive or appropriate to the domestic situation. a balance or payment deficit can be narrowed by reducing national output and balance of payment equilibrium.

There is possible between the objective of growth and external balance growth increases the demand for import, capciaty to produce export and imports substitutes. Invariably, growth will breed deficits in the external balance of the countries with higher propensities to import.

However, certain economic objectives are mutually reinforcing. For instance balance of payment equilibrium and the avoidance of inflation since the later will assist in the achievement of the former similarly, full potential output and economic growths are compatible objectives. Thus policy makers pure the objectives simultaneously.



Over the years, Central Bank of Nigeria sought to control the financial system and the economy through monetary policy, which could be directed or indirect. Directory monetary policy is the use of influencing the cost and availability of credits. While indirect monetary policy is where the permissible aggregate credit will continues to be determined by the CBN.

The instruments of monetary policy available to the CBN under the prevailing deregulated economic environment include open market operations, discount rate, reserve requirements, special deposit and moral suasion.



In economics with developed financial markets, OMO has become a powerful market oriented tool of monetary management which enables the monetary authorities to influence the cost and availability of bank reserves and bring about desirable changes in bank credit and the money supply. When there is need to curtail credit expansion, for instance in an inflationary situation, the central bank undertakes sale-qualified securities in the money market. This reduces the cash reserves of the banks and curtail their credit expansion operations thereby causing monetary contraction. This in turn may cause interest rates to rise and discourage the investment, lower aggregate spending and dampen the inflationary pressures. The banks may of cause resort to borrowing from the central bank as the lender of last resort and thereby give the central bank the added opportunity to reinforce it’s open market operations by increasing its lending rate or and rediscount rate. Since the effectiveness of OMO as an instrument of monetary management depends on the existence of a well developed, integrated and interest sensitive financial markets, which is a yet lacking in our financial environment, the fostering of the undevelopment of the Nigeria financial markets persists as an important challenge to an autonomous CBN. This OMO is the sales or purchases of eligible bills or securities to the public by CBN for the purpose of altering supply base of bank reserve balance, the banks which are currently the biggest investors in government treasury bills make their subscription though the discount house which have been achieve in promoting a secondary market in these securities. Following the modest initial offering of N250 million at the maiden OMO session in June 1992; 20 subsequently session were conducted  in 1993 at which a total of N441,150,000 million of Federal government  of Nigeria Treasury Bill were offered for sale and a total of 49,265 million were sold to subscriber, all but 2 of the 2 offerings were over subscribed.

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          This is the oldest instrument of monetary policy which enables the central bank to influence the credit operations of the commercial banks that seek temporary financial accommodation from the central bank discount window. Discount window operations are generally carried out a penal rates and banks resorting to the discount rate are required to provide acceptable collateral in the form of government short-term securities or other prime – rated securities. A change in the discount rate usually changes in other interest rates in the same direction. In addition, money market participants business community, and informed public tend to interpret changes in Central Bank discount rate as a signal of central bank monetary and credit policy stance and hence it has an important announcement effect. This is a rate which represent the cost of borrowing by the commercial banks or deposit taking institution and discount house from the CBN as a lender of last resort when the former are in need of fund to replenish reserves in to create deposits by extending loans to customers.


          Reserve requirements, initially designed as tolls for maintaining bank liquidity, have become useful instruments of monetary policy in a period of credit restraint reserve ratios are increased while hey are lowered under a policy of credit ease. Reserve requirement are lowered under the implicit assumption that the gains in free reserve by the commercial (also merchant) bank will be used by them to increase their earnings assets, which thereby should increase total bank credit and the monetary stock of the economy.

The central bank of Nigeria is empowered to impose a number of variable reserve ratios on the banks these include, cash ratio, liquid assets reserve or liquidity ratio. This is minimum level of cash deposit which banks are obliged to hold with CBN expressed as a ratio of bank total demand, saving, and time deposit liabilities, the cash balance is made up of value and allowable cash balance with CBN. It has a variable ratio of 6% for 1995 on daily average basis for each two weeks maintenance period. the higher the ratio of bank reserve stipulated as legal cash reserve requirement, the lower the proportion of the banks funds available as backing to credit expansion, thus reducing their capacity to credit money and vice verse.

Liquidity ratio: It is the ratio bank’s total liquid assets to it’s total deposits liabilities banks assets are made up of value cash, balance with CBN, net money at call, treasury bills and certificates bills discounted, eligible development stocks. Bankers unit fund and certificates of deposit while deposit liabilities are made up of demand, saving and time deposit liabilities it is presently 30%.     


          It is one of the moderns methods of monetary control which is used in the prevailing economic condition do not favour the use of other instruments. The CBN may require the financial institutions to make deposits, of say 2% or buy special securities. Interest rate is paid on such account usually at the treasury bill rate, which is considerably lower than the rate at which banks would lend such money to their customers. It should be noted that stabilization securities were excluded from eligible liquid assets of banks that would count in compacting their statutory liquidity ratio. The main aim of  this instrument is to reduce the excess liquidity position of commercial banks. The money realized is transferred to the government account and the government uses it to execute any pending projects.


          This involves the use CBN’s power of persuasion without issuing official directives, to influence the lending operations of the commercial banks in a desired direction in the national interest.


          The roles and functions of central bank of Nigeria are both interwoven because it’s roles are derivatives of the functions assigned to them by the constitution establishing it. In exerting its role in Nigeria economy in developing and stabilizing it, it should be borne in mind that there is  no policy that is bad in its totality but the foreigners of the policy which is dumped and imposed on the economy resulted in most of the policies not achieving it’s target, objectives and rather, it worsen the economy situation of the country. The monetary instrument will be used in assessing the role played by CBN in stabilizing Nigerian economy. Among the factors that destabilized Nigeria economy is inflation and many objectives that the monetary policy is set to achieve.

OMO is usually conducted to combat inflationary situation, which the CBN will sell treasury bills and certificate to the public to withdraw money circulation, likewise buy the securities to expand the economy or money in circulation. The effective use of this instrument requires the existence of a well – developed financial market where the amount of government securities held by banks, private corporations, and individual at large. The instrument cannot at present be effectively used in Nigeria due to the underdeveloped nature of the financial system in general and money market in particular. The OMO, which are of the nature of general and limited, use in the circumstance of the developing economy of which Nigeria is typical.

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