A former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, on Wednesday in Ondo State, threw his weight behind President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision not to devalue the naira.
President Buhari had maintained his stand that until proponents of devaluation are able to present a convincing argument, he will not bow to the pressure to “kill” the nation’s currency.
Speaking at the Ondo State 40th Anniversary Symposium in Akure, the state capital yesterday, Mr. Anyaoku said devaluing the naira would worsen the economic situation and cause a severe drain on the nation’s foreign reserves.
The seasoned diplomat, who was the chairman of the session, had opened the symposium with his opinion on the state of the naira, a topic he said was tied to the theme of the event, “Curtailing Nigeria’s Centrifugal Forces”.
“In my view those calling for official devaluation of the naira need to come up with a good answer to Nigeria’s basic present problematic situation with its currency”, Mr. Anyaoku said.
“There is an incontrovertible fact that with the present level of the country’s dependence on imported goods, which results in a monthly import bill that is four times the value of our main export, which is traded in dollars, official devaluation of the naira vis-a-vis the dollar, will inevitably produce a further rise in inflation to the detriment of all of us, including, especially the masses.
“And besides, in such circumstances, devaluation will lead to an unacceptable drain on our country’s external reserves which is already worryingly depleted.
“The crux of the challenge we face with the current world price for crude oil is to devise policies for reducing the level of the country’s dependence on imported goods while in the meantime, allowing the dollar to float in the unofficial currency market with adequate safeguards being put in place by government to check round tripping in the management of the foreign exchange”.
The former Commonwealth Secretary General, however, called on President Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, convene a meeting of carefully chosen economic experts in the country to discuss the issue, as well as the wider issue of how to deal with the country’s current economic crisis.