1.1 Background to the Study

Monetary policy as a technique of economic management is to bring about sustainable economic growth and development. This has been the pursuit of nations, as articulated by Onyewu (2012) on how money affects economic aggregates. This view also dates back to the time of Adam Smith and later championed by the monetary economists. Since the expositions of the role of monetary policy in influencing macro-economic objectives like economic growth and development which include employment generation, stability in prices, growth in Gross Domestic Production (GDP), equilibrium in balance of payments and host of others monetary authorities are saddled with the key responsibility of using monetary policy to formulate and implement policies that gear toward driving the economy on an even level.

Monetary policy is one of the macroeconomic instruments with which nations use to manage their economies. Monetary policy is seen as an important aspect of the macroeconomics which deals with the use of monetary instruments designed to regulate the value, supply and cost of money in an economy, in line with the expected level of economic activity (Ubi, Lionel and Eyo, 2012). It covers the gamut of measures or combination of packages intended to influence or regulate the volume, prices as well as direction of money in the economy per unit of time. Specifically, it permeates all the debonair efforts by the monetary authorities to control the money supply and credits conditions for the purpose of achieving diverse macroeconomic objectives. In Nigeria, the responsibility for monetary policy formulation rests with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF).

The monetary environment in Nigeria has been very unstable in the recent past, with the economy being vulnerable to shocks from volatile commodity prices. If the economy slows and employment declines, policy makers will be inclined to soften monetary policy to stimulate aggregate demand. When growth in aggregate demand is boosted above growth in the economy’s potential to produce, slack in the economy will be absorbed and employment will return to a more sustainable path. In contrast, if the economy is showing signs of overheating and inflation pressures are building, the Central Bank will be inclined to counter these pressures by tightening the economy through monetary policy to bring growth in aggregate demand below that of the economy’s potential to produce for as long as necessary to defuse the inflationary pressures and put the economy on a path to sustainable expansion (Anowor and Okorie, 2016).

While these policy choices seem reasonably straightforward, monetary policy makers routinely face certain notable uncertainties because the actual position of the economy and growth in aggregate demand at any point in time is only partially known as key information on variables only come with lags such that policy makers are constraint to rely on estimates of these economic variables when assessing the choice of appropriate policy and therefore could act on the basis of misleading information. More so, monetary policy is not the only force acting on output, employment, and prices. Many other factors affect aggregate demand and aggregate supply and, consequently, the economic position of economic units. Some of these factors can be anticipated and built into spending and other economic decisions while others like shifts in consumer and business confidence, posture of creditors, natural disasters, disruptions in the oil market that reduce supply, agricultural losses, and slowdowns in productivity growth can be totally unpredictable and influence the economy in unforeseen ways.

In Nigeria as in other developing countries, the objectives of monetary policy include full employment, domestic price stability, adequate economic growth and external sector stability. The supplementary objectives of monetary policy include smoothening of the business cycle, prevention of financial crisis and stabilization of long term interest rates and real exchange rate (Mishra and Pradhan, 2008). In pursuing these objectives, the CBN recognizes the existence of conflicts among the objectives thus necessitating at some points some sort of trade-offs (Uchendu, 2010). The Bank manipulates the operational target (monetary policy rate, MPR) over which it has substantial direct control to influence the intermediate target (broad money supply, M2) which in turn impacts on the ultimate objective of price stability and sustainable economic growth. Hence, this study seeks to examine the effectiveness of monetary policy in stimulating economic growth in Nigeria.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

One of the major objectives of monetary policy in Nigeria is price stability. But despite the various monetary regimes that have been adopted by the Central Bank of Nigeria over the years, inflation, and unemployment still remain as major threats to Nigeria’s economic growth. In this vein, Greenspan (2003) observed succinctly that “uncertainty is not just an important feature of the monetary policy landscape; it is the defining characteristic of that landscape” within the Nigerian monetary environment, data “robousity”; data transmission mechanism and fiscal environment are notably found as her greatest challenge and uncertainty. This has become particularly interesting because the Nigerian external sector (balance of payment) via change in net foreign assets; government budget (net credit to government) influence monetary policies as much as the real growth of the economy and prices.

Moreover, Okorie (2009) also observed that monetary data as a component of monetary policy proposals are often subject to frequent revision together with non-availability and quality concerns of non-monetary data such as real sector statistics which in turn act as retardation to monetary policies as well as having gross implications on economic growth in Nigeria.

Fiscal surprises have been seen to undermine monetary policy substantially, for instance, in the event of fiscal tax surface, monetary policy is expected to immediately become reasonable investment to maintain both internal and external balance. From the foregoing, therefore, the study’s challenge is therefore how best to manage the uncertainties in such way as to continue to pursue the basic and primary function of monetary policy for efficient price stability and sustainable economic growth.

Most of the available studies on monetary policy in Nigeria by Celina (2014), Onyeiwu (2012), Usman and Adejare (2014), Adigwe, Echekoba, Justus and Onyeagba (2015) were not depth in investigation since they were theoretical studies whose findings were subjectively influenced by leading argument in literature. It is noted that available past studies did not give adequate attention to the link between monetary policy and economic growth in Nigeria, as well as highlighting effective strategies for stimulating growth in Nigeria. Hence, it was on the identification of this gap in knowledge that this study was conceived to critically examine the effectiveness of monetary policy in stimulating economic growth in Nigeria.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The major objective of this research study is to assess the effectiveness of monetary policy in stimulating economic growth in Nigeria. Other specific objectives are:

1. To examine the effectiveness of monetary policy on price stability in Nigeria.

2. To examine the effect of money supply on the gross domestic product (GDP) of Nigeria.

3. To examine the effect of interest rate on the economic growth of Nigeria.

1.4 Research Questions

The study intends to answer the following research questions:

1. What is the effect of monetary policy on price stability in Nigeria?

2. To what extent does money supply affect gross domestic product (GDP) of Nigeria.

3. What is the effect of interest rate on the economic growth of Nigeria.

1.5 Research Hypotheses

Hypothesis One

H0: Monetary policy does not have significant effect on price stability in Nigeria.

H1: Monetary policy has significant effect on price stability in Nigeria.

Hypothesis Two

H0: Money supply does not have significant effect on the on the economic growth of Nigeria.

H1: Money supply have significant effect on the on the economic growth of Nigeria.

Hypothesis Three

H0: Interest rate does not have significant effect on the gross domestic product (GDP) of Nigeria.

H1: Interest rate has significant effect on the gross domestic product (GDP) of Nigeria.