Is time up for CBK’s master of coins

When the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Dr. Patrick Njoroge sat on the iron throne, his penchant for dropping quotes to illustrate complex economics became his signature in the many press briefings he held to explain Monetary Policy decisions. In the stonewalled CBK his predecessors were both inaccessible and mouthful with economics lingo that tended to only be understood by market analysts.

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Here are some of his quotable quotes whenever he tried to humor down Economics 101.

When he got the job, Dr. Njoroge ‘s fast task was stemming the fall of the shilling. In September 2015 with the Governor, just three months into his tenure, saw the shilling slide to 106 against the greenback, he tightened monetary policy which means raising interest rates to reduce lending and slow the economy’s pressure. But the government went on spending and continued to borrow locally like nothing had happened pushing interest rates into the roof. This is what he had to say of his treasury fiscal side counterpart Henry Rotich.

“It’s like we have one arm firmly on the brakes and the other firmly on the accelerator,”

His differences with Rotich have been plenty but when Treasury tried to play on his turf, introducing the financial markets conduct bill 2018 Dr. Njoroge fought back vehemently against ‘dark forces’. While National Treasury says that the proposals were packaged to promote a fair, non-discriminatory market place for access to credit and provide uniform practices, Dr. Njoroge felt that the bottom-line of the proposals are to leave CBK a toothless dog. But he had to sum it up with another car reference.

“In sum, this is financial sector equivalent of being asked to trade in your well-serviced SUV for a souped-up Subaru. It may have flashy lights, stabilizer at the back, noisy exhaust and racing strength but it is still a Subaru,”

Inflation is a complex thing but who better than Jamaicans to help explain it. The Bank of Jamaica ‏ @CentralBankJA put out a tweet on January 10, 2019, with a short clip of musicians teasing an intro and finishing up with a single line. ‘Low and stable inflation is to the economy what the baseline is to reggae music’.

Dr. Njoroge retweeted, @Njorogep ‘I just love this innovation in central bank communication! No one can stop reggae! Big up’. So he came up with his own version.

“Inflation is like toothpaste if you push it out of the tube it will be very hard to get it back”

CBK has managed a miraculous feat of keeping the shilling at an average of 100 under his tenure even when other currencies dropped like stones. What was crucial to this feat was an International Monetary Fund loan which could be drawn in case Kenya suddenly needed dollars. This was taken away in 2017 after Kenya failed to meet certain standards. Kenya is negotiating a new one, so while the govern think it’s not urgent given he currently holds a record $10.056 billion (6.4 months of import cover). He had a quote on why it is still top on the agenda.

“Time to insure is not when your house is burning but way before,”

On the rise of online-based mobile lending applications…

“These things have grown like mushrooms, that is the online lenders. They are not working at the interest of wanjiku”

On whether he wants to keep his job…

“I never worry about these things, you cannot worry about things you cannot change. Speculation raises anxiety, I could spend the rest of my days waiting for a phone call. If I will walk away from the job that is fine. The institution will still be there”.

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