A former Presidential candidate and a chieftain of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim has cautioned against the recent call by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Oshinbajo that the value of Naira be further adjusted to align with “market realities.”
In a statement released by his media office in Abuja on Wednesday, the businessman- turned politician argued in three and a half decades of the continuous devaluation of the naira, the economy has neither been diversified significantly nor has Nigeria become an investor’s haven. He maintained that such a measure at this point in time can “only worsen things.”
He added that “if anything at all, the country has almost lost her manufacturing sector and is fast becoming a dumping ground for products that are not necessarily of better standards than goods produced in Nigeria.”
Olawepo-Hashim also reasoned that “even the market fundamentalists at the International Monetary Fund, (IMF) are very cautious to push for further devaluation of the naira as well as other traditional policy cocktails of Brethenwoods financial institutions capable of worsening cost of living for Nigerians most of who are already desperately poor.”
According to him, since the introduction of the Structural Adjustment Programme in 1986 and the accompanying currency devaluation, we have since seen the naira moved from 1 US Dollar to 1 Naira; to 1 US Dollar to 9 Naira; up to now 1 US Dollar to 412 Naira at the official window.
“This ugly situation was what we predicted 35 years ago as a matter of fact, yours truly and other patriotic forces organised the anti-SAP uprising in 1989 to discontinue the continuous devaluation of the currency,” he said, adding that “Economics is the science of Alternatives and there are a dozen options to stabilize the value of national currency rather than the usual shallow recourse to devaluation with the attendant inflation, negative effect on living condition of the pauperized masses of Nigerians.”
According to him, the government needs to manage the fiscal side of the economy properly and leave the CBN alone to do its lawful duty on monetary policy management.
He maintained that “until we get to a point where we are ready to seriously consider available options opened on management of the National Economy, the CBN should be supported on its efforts to manage the naira.”
“Our learned Silk and Professor of Law over reached himself by speaking publicly on the value of the currency which is the exclusive turf of the Central Bank,
“Though the VP’s office later tried to clarify what he said, the attempt is not too helpful; the real issue is that a senior official of state should not offer opinions on the movement of the currency as such opinions are capable of opening the currency to speculative attacks” he added.