Journalists Stress Need For Timely, Adequate Release Of Monetary Information By CBN

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By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo

The need for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to always release timely and adequate information on its monetary policies to the media for transmission to the public has been stressed.

This became necessary since the extent to which the public understanding of the CBN Monetary Policy is dependent on the quality and quantity of information made available to the media.

This was contained in a communique issued on Wednesday at the end of a 4-day Retreat/Chapel Week at Roses Regency Hotel and Suites, Wuye, Abuja, on the theme, “2023: IN SEARCH OF A BETTER NIGERIA THROUGH RESPONSIBLE JOURNALISM”. 

The Communique jointly signed by Chairman of the Chapel, Comrade Idongesit Ashameri and Chairman of the Communique drafting Committee, Joe Effiong as well as Tony Ita Etim and Inemesit Akpansoh as members,        drew strength from a lecture on, “The Place of the Media in Shaping Monetary Policies for Better Economy”, by Prof. Uche Uwaleke, Chairman, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria;

The chapel observed that most of the CBN policies, either expansionary or retractive on monetary policies, do not seem to work in controlling cost-push inflation in the country, because of the high cost of production such as diesel, gas, transportation, energy, as well as insecurity.

It also warned the media against inflammatory headlines of stories on monetary economy.

“That since the extent to which the public understanding of the CBN Monetary Policy is dependent on the quality and quantity of information made available to the media, the CBN should ensure that it provides the media with adequate and timely information for onward distillation to the public.

“That the media should guard against alarmist or inflammatory headlining of stories on monetary and economic policies of the nation so as not to cause panicky activities in the economy, which could lead to avoidable rise in inflation.”

Arising from other topics treated at the retreat, the communique also advised government, “to stop the practice of taking non concessionary loans based only on assumed windfall, sometimes called miracle money, as such loans are not only illegal and illegitimate, but also have the tendency of mortgaging the future generations of the state to perennial loan servicing.        

“That the fiscal documents of Akwa Ibom State should be domiciled at one location for easy reference instead of the present practice of scattering them to various places like the Budget Office, Ministry of Finance, Accountant General Office, Auditory General Office, etc.

“That media organizations should live up to the responsibility of training and retraining their staff, especially, journalists instead of leaving such an important activity to NGOs, or staff to train themselves”. The Communique stated 

Aimed at intellectually and professionally re-equiping  members of the chapel and other journalists within and outside Akwa Ibom State for the task of effective reportage of the forthcoming general elections in 2023 and beyond, the Correspondents’ Chapel noted sadly that the refusal or delay in regular payment of media worker’s entitlements has hugely impacted negatively on ethics of Journalism profession. 

“The refusal or delay in regular payment of media worker’s entitlements does not only amount to abuse and harassment of the workers, but is also a deliberate act to subject such workers to economic insecurity which could engender unethical practice.

“That media organizations should provide adequate and appropriate security equipment and insurance to their staff covering violent conflict environment’

“That Media organizations should make transparency their watchword by regularly publishing their annual returns as done by other responsible organizations;

“That journalists should display a high level of professionalism devoid of partisanship, favoritism,  bias in their reportage of the 2023 elections and their fallouts thereof”. It added. 

“It also warned the media against inflammatory headlining of stories on monetary economy”

Other topics treated at the retreat included, “The Role of the Media in Budget Tracking”, by Tijah Akpan, CEO, Policy Alert and “Safety and Security of the Media in a Volatile Environment” by CSP Vanderfan James Tersugh (rtd).

The retreat expressed appreciation to Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information and Strategy for changing the face of information management in the state and making the ministry the most viable and effective. 

The retreat specially commended him for moral and material support he has often offered to the Correspondents Chapel.

Notwithstanding lapses observed in the management of the state budget, the retreat commended Akwa Ibom State Government for latching up to the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS), which enable her to be one of the beneficiaries from the World Bank’s incentive scheme.      

The retreat commended the Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Akwa Ibom State Council, Comrade Amos Etuk for the harmonious working relationship he has displayed with the Correspondents’ Chapel, culminating in his attending the 4-day Chapel Week  at Abuja.

The Retreat expressed appreciation to ExxonMobil, the principal sponsors, and other personalities and organizations for their support and assistance which went a long way in making the exercise a success.

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