Group warns against further devaluation of naira
Ondo State Eminent Persons Group (OSEG), made up of notable businessmen and women, as well as investors from the state, has kicked against any further move to devalue the Naira, noting that all previous devaluation exercises had not benefitted Nigerians or the economy.
OSEG, in a statement yesterday by its national president, Banji Alabi, lamented that the poor Nigerians had always been the victims of all devaluation exercises by successive administrations in the country.
Bemoaning what has today become the fate of the Nigerian currency, Alabi, an accountant, recalled that in 1985, while working in the treasury department in a multinational firm, both the naira and the dollar were at par in value.
His words: “In 1985, I worked at the treasury section of a multinational firm where my role at the time was to procure Letters of Credit for the importation of raw materials for the breweries and I remembered vividly that the Naira and USD were almost at par. It was one Naira to USD 0.9840 ( One Naira to 98 cents), so the Naira had been devalued ever since then to about N350 to USD at the parallel market to the peril of the nation.”
“The question is what is the gain of the persistent devaluation of the Naira over the years to the nation? The answer is penury and devaluation of everything that is dear to us as a nation. If the Naira exchanges today is N 1000 to one dollar, it will still not help us”, he said.
The tax consultant, who blamed the country’s insatiable appetite for dollar on excessive dependence on importation, warned that no amount of devaluation would directly grow the economy or positively impact on the welfare of the ordinary Nigerian, except a conscious increase in the country’s production and manufacturing levels.
According to the group, “our challenge is about moving away from a consumption economy to that of production and manufacturing based economy. We however, trust President Muhammad Buhari and his team to make this happen. We pray that President Buhari will not succumb to the pressure to devalue the Naira. It will further spell doom and bring more hardships to Nigerians.”
The group noted that “the economic policy action recently rolled out by the Presidency clearly articulates the direction of this government and this gives us confidence that this government is heading in the right direction, which includes diversification of the economy to stimulate the growth of the agricultural and manufacturing sectors.
“For the first time, a Nigerian government has also placed the welfare of the common man on the front burner through an expansive social protection programme.
“Government will be investing so much into increasing the earning capacity of poor households while directly intervening to provide for the care of the vulnerable citizens. We are happy to see that this is an integrated and inclusive plan to bring about self-sustaining growth of our economy. I also believe that the current administration has the political will and all the right resources to follow through.”