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Naira: Tinubu’ll shock currency speculators — Presidency

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Wednesday, November 8th, 2023
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The Presidency yesterday disclosed that President Bola Tinubu’s administration is working on policies that will strengthen the Naira.

Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Dr Tope Fasua, disclosed this at the “Cowries to Cash” lecture and lunch in Abuja yesterday.

There has been a steady rise in the value of the naira in the past few days and Fasua said the trend is expected to continue as a result of policies being implemented by the government.

While positing that the fall in the value of the currency of a country was a sign of conquest, he said:   “When you want to destroy a country, destroy its currency first.”

He cautioned Nigerians hoarding foreign currencies with the hope that the local currency will continue to fall, warning that the policies of the government would shock them.

Fasua, who represented Vice President Kashim Shettima at the event said: “For those who are speculating and praying and wishing that the currency would become nonsense, I believe that policies being rolled out by the Central Bank and the government that I serve, led by the President, will shock some of them.

“You need to listen to the agenda from the man himself (Tinubu) and you will see that the level at which he is thinking is far ahead of most of us.

“You know, he has some very great ideas coming up. Some of them are what you’ve seen reversing the fall in the value of the naira, but he has also challenged us to review forward many of the targets, for example, the idea that Nigeria’s economy will get to a trillion dollars.

He wants to achieve it by 2026.

“Some people thought the naira will continue to lose value. Of course, we can already see what’s going on and who knows, maybe the naira will strengthen even further to maybe something 500 or 600. I’m beginning to see some of those.”

Banking sector re-organization coming

He said there was going to be some tectonic reorganization of the banking sector to make the naira more stable and stronger.

“If you want to position your exports properly, you have to be strategic, even in terms of the value of your currency. So you’re going to see all of these, including efforts from the fiscal side.

“We have patriots running the economy right now. And naysayers have to be very, very afraid,” Fasua said.

In his keynote address at the event, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Dr Olayemi Cardoso, who was represented by the Director of Banking Supervision, Mr. Mustapha Haruna, said the country was going through economic challenges occasioned by a number of macroeconomic issues linked to some of the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

The CBN governor said the book (Cowries to Cashless) would eloquently capture the evolutionary journey in the history of the CBN, particularly with regards to the phenomenal transformation of the Nigerian payment system in the last two or three decades.

This transformation, Cardoso noted, had been deepened by the implementation of the cashless policy.

“One of our strategic priorities in this effort is to foster financial inclusion and I’m very sure you will also relate to the progress we have made, based on the current numbers.

“We have financial inclusion in the neighbourhood of about 64 per cent. Over 64 per cent of Nigerians have access to formal financial services. 

‘’Our vision is to push the boundaries to over 95 per cent and we are well on course, in achieving that objective.”

He assured that the CBN would continue to collaborate with the key stakeholders, particularly the fiscal authorities, to ensure that it addressed a number of the essential issues and challenges currently facing the country.

Speaking on the essence of the book, the author and the Executive Director of Asher Global Treasures, Princess Iphie, emphasised the need to preserve the evolution of money and its history in Nigeria.

Iphie said: “If you don’t know what yesterday was and you don’t know what is today, definitely you will not know what tomorrow will be. 

‘’So we started from Cowries to Manillas and then other ones before we started with the exchange of goods and then this is where we are right now — the technological age and loads of innovation.”

Pay greater attention to debt reduction than pursuing currency speculators —Adonri

Reacting to the remarks yesterday, David Adonri, Vice Executive Chairman at  HIGHCAP Securities Limited, said: “ President Tinubu’s wish to shock currency speculators is well intended but the road to failure is always paved with good intentions. 

‘’The Federal Government has huge foreign currency denominated debt that dangles like an albatross over the economy. CBN, over which government has vicarious liability, has unsettled overdue foreign currency obligations by way of trade credits and forward contracts. These all require settlement with foreign currency. 

“Instead of pursuing currency speculators possibly by throwing hard currency into the foreign exchange market to increase supply, greater attention should go to debt reduction, extinguishing of outstanding CBN obligations and engineering infrastructure development. 

‘’The market mechanism of the newly deregulated foreign exchange market should be allowed to allocate FX according to market reality. Compared to its obligations, FGN/CBN do not have the kind of FX inflow to sustain appreciation of the naira. 

Government should let markets sort themselves out. Sooner or later, without needless intervention by government, market will discipline speculators. 

‘’Monetary policy tools for strengthening the naira have been exhausted because weakness of the currency comes from excruciating insecurity and supply gap which only fiscal policy can address now.” 

Speculation can be minimized if policy discourages dollar payments — Kurfi

Also, reacting, Mallam Garba Kurfi, who is the CEO, APT Securities and Funds Limited, said: “I believed him and hope the policy will be release soon so that the issues of Speculation will be reduce to the bearest minimum. The policy should stop pricing services or product in Nigeria in any other currency than naira including bonuses given to players in the system. The bonuses given to even foreigners in Nigeria should be in naira. Collecting rent of property should all be in naira among others things.” 

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