Naira devaluation: Expert stresses need for instituting saving culture
Rafiu Adebayo Ibrahim, a former chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions in the 8th National Assembly, has stressed the need for government at all levels to stop paying lip service to instituting a concrete savings culture to grow the economy.
Ibrahim gave the advice while delivering his speech on ‘Naira Devaluation by Central Bank of Nigeria: How Did We Get Here? What Are The Challenges and Prospects for us as a Nation?’ at the 30th edition of Media Parliament of the Kwara State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
He said that even as an individual, when one consumes all one’s income and fails to save, one will be feeding from hand to mouth and will always be vulnerable anytime that there is drought because one has no savings to fall back on.
According to him, Nigeria being a monolithic economy was enough reason for it to be financially disciplined and futuristic in its savings and investment policies.
He, however, admonished the Federal Government and regulatory agencies on monetary policy to allow the economics to rule and reign on the issue of naira exchange rate.
The former senator, who canvased for promotion of local production and industrialisation, particularly the products that are highly in demand, said: “It is devastating to see the nation work slowly but steadily to move towards a market-determined foreign exchange system, as was the case during the regimes of Charles Soludo and Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, then due to the interference of politics in matters of economics, the gains of two decades are eroded in less than five years. As a nation, we should know that we cannot eat our cake and have it.”
According to him,. “Attempts made in the past to embrace liberalisation is a step in the right direction, but should have been also backed with some high level of financial discipline that would provide savings for a rainy day. The very act of trying to fiddle with the currency whenever we run into trouble is what really needs to be re-examined.
“Knowing that we are a monolithic economy is enough reason for us to be futuristic in our savings and investment policies. The moment oil prices crash, businesses and transactions that were perfectly legal suddenly become ‘unpatriotic’ and everybody becomes an expert in economics with pressure of the policy makers who are in most cases obviously ill-prepared, policy-wise for such situations.
“It is only in Nigeria that you see a situation where we pray and hope for high oil prices to sustain our spending pattern without saving, while we want to keep the exchange rate ‘stable’ even when revenues have collapsed dramatically.”
Earlier, Abdullateef Lanre Ahmed, chairman, Kwara State Council of NUJ, posited that the current situation is worrisome hence, the urgent need to address it, especially its adverse effects on the local economy.
He said: “At the moment, the exchange rate of naira for one dollar in the black market is over N550, and getting forex at the designated commercial banks is a herculean task. This is just as the CBN continues to act in a manner that suggests that our naira would further experience devaluation.
“And out of curiosity, you begin to wonder whether the monetary policy of the apex bank is congruous with the reality beyond policy documents that are often bandied around to divert attention.
“There is no doubt to posit that Nigeria’s economy is haemorrhaging. No thanks to the policy summersault of the CBN on monetary policy that has, in significant way, weakened naira in the global economy and in turn reducing the purchasing power of the populace. And you are attempted to ask this nagging question. In whose interest is CBN formulating its policies?”