President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigeria and its people will not derive any tangible benefit from an official devaluation of the Naira.
A statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by the president’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said
President Buhari made this known at an interactive meeting with Nigerians living in Kenya.
Buhari maintained that while export-driven economies could benefit from devaluation of their currencies, devaluation would only result in further inflation and hardship for the poor and the middle class in Nigeria’s import-dependent economy.
The President added that he had no intention of bringing further hardship on the country’s poor who, he said, had suffered enough already.
Likening the Naira devaluation as having “killed” it, Buhari said that proponents of devaluation would have to work much harder to convince him that ordinary Nigerians would gain from it.
He also rejected suggestions that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should resume the sale of foreign exchange to Bureaux de Change (BDCs),
saying the BDCs 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,’’ he 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.
He reaffirmed his conviction that about a third of petroleum subsidy payments under the previous administration were bogus.
“They just stamped papers and collected our foreign exchange,’’ he said.
The President appealed to Nigerians studying abroad to bear with his administration as it was trying to address their challenges as a result of new foreign exchange measures.
He expressed optimism that the Nigerian economy would stabilise soon with the efficient implementation of measures and policies that had been introduced by his administration.