Minster of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, on Sunday explained why they were not in attendance during an investment meeting organized by the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, United States.
The Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, had decried absence of Nigerian officials at the event, which held on the sidelines of the 2018 World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings.
Speaking to journalists at a joint briefing, Adeosun said: “I attended the IMFC which is 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 statement on behalf of those 23 which includes most of the anglophone countries – South Africa and Mozambique.
“There has been some controversy over the scheduling I wasn’t due at any event. I was there 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.”
In his own reaction, Emiefiele said: “The Minister of Finance has taken time to say why we are here. We are here to attend the statutory meetings. The Minister of Finance and me being the governor of the CBN; what takes preeminence is the meetings in the IMF as well as the meetings at the World Bank.
“I think it is important for me to say this: when I arrived in Washington, the officials of the embassy spoke with me that there was going to be a US Nigeria summit and I said I 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 2pm and 3pm (on Saturday) whereas the World Bank committed plenary session which is an assembly of ministers and governors of Central Banks was to hold between 2.45 and 5pm.
“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 world Bank.
“I felt 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”.