By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA – President Muhammadu Buhari has stated their further devaluation of Naira would kill the currency, insisting that it was one decision he was not ready to take at the moment.
The president said he was not also ready to inflict more hardship on the poor citizens of Nigeria who have already had doses of penury.
He stressed that while export-driven economies could benefit from devaluation of their currencies, Naira devaluation will only result in further inflation and hardship for the poor and middle classes in Nigeria’s import-dependent economy.
President Buhari who spoke on Wednesday in Nairobi, Kenya during a meeting with Nigerians resident in the county has been away on official visit.
A statement by his Special Assistant on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu from Nairobi stated that the President Buhari said he was yet to be convinced by the proponents of devaluation that ordinary Nigerians would benefit from policy.
It added that President also rejected suggestions that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN should resume the sale of foreign exchange to Bureaux de Change (BDCs), saying that the Bureau de Change business had become a scam and a drain on the economy.
“We had just 74 of the bureaux in 2005, now they have grown to about 2,800,” Buhari noted.
He alleged that some bank and government officials used surrogates to run the BDCs and prosper at public expense by obtaining foreign exchange from government at official rates and selling it at much higher rates.
“We will use our foreign exchange for industry, spare parts and the development of needed infrastructure.
“We don’t have the Dollars to give to the BDCs. Let them go and get it from wherever they can, other than the Central Bank,” he said.
The President also maintained his suspicion that about a third of petroleum subsidy payments under the previous administration was fake.
“They just stamped papers and collected our foreign exchange,” he said.
The President however appealed to Nigerians studying abroad to bear with his administration as it stove to address the challenges they were facing as a result of new foreign exchange measures.
He said that he was optimistic that the Nigerian economy will stabilize soon with the efficient implementation of measures and policies that have been introduced by his administration.