Critics of forex policy ‘unpatriotic’, CBN says
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has promised to maintain price stability and external reserves to safeguard the international price of Naira.
In a statement by the bank’s acting Director, Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okorafor on Thursday, the bank expressed concern over the continued attack on its policies by a ”self-serving and unpatriotic people”.
The statement alleged that Intelligence reports at the disposal of the bank revealed that some unpatriotic elements were pushing the Federal Government to reverse its forex policy, aimed at conserving foreign exchange, stimulating agriculture, manufacturing and exports.
“The present economic challenges that we face have been worsened by our past practice of frittering away huge earnings made from oil sales, over the years.
“As we have explained severally, our decisions on FOREX management are prompted by the challenge posed by the level of depletion of the country’s reserves, arising from drastic reduction in oil earnings, speculative attacks and round tripping.
“It is pertinent to note that pressures on the country’s foreign reserves have persisted due to a huge fall in the monthly foreign earnings, which fell from over 3.2 billion dollars in 2013 to below 500 million dollars per month in 2016.
“Yet that was the time when the demand for the US dollar, particularly by importers, continued to rise considerably.
“In spite of the challenges and the basic economic fact that countries earn dollars from international trade, we have ensured we meet the genuine demand of importers to pay for eligible imports and other transactions within available resources,”
The apex bank says it will continue to ensure that there are liquidity and transparency in the Foreign Exchange market.
It reiterated its drive to promote export-driven industrialisation and promote access to credit to farmers and small-scale entrepreneurs at single digit rates, to create wealth and employment.
The bank also promises to ensure that the masses, as well as low-income earners, are protected from the vagaries of high naira depreciation.
“While leaving our doors open for genuine partnership with all our stakeholders, we will only take economic decisions that will impact positively on the lives of all Nigerians.
“We, therefore, urge all concerned to be more patriotic and contribute to the soundness of the Nigerian economy, rather than engage in acts capable of undermining the efforts at moving the country out of the current economic situation.”