Vice President Kashim Shettima on Tuesday said those stockpiling foreign currencies, anticipating a further decline in the naira will burn their fingers as government’s policies would come as a shock.
Shettima, represented at the event by Tope Fasua, the special adviser to the President on Economic Matters, said this in Abuja during the “Cowries to Cash” lecture.
He revealed that President Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s administration is actively developing policies aimed at bolstering the strength of the naira and asserted that the recent positive trend is anticipated to continue.
Fasua also emphasised the significance of a nation’s currency value and cautioned against viewing its recent depreciation as a sign of weakness.
“For those who are speculating and praying and wishing that the currency would become nonsense, I believe that the policies are 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, 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 that the naira would 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,” he stated.
He mentioned that there are plans for significant restructuring within the banking sector to enhance the stability and strength of the naira.
“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.
During his keynote address at the event, Olayemi Cardoso, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), represented by Mustapha Haruna, Director of Banking Supervision, acknowledged the economic challenges currently faced by the nation.
He attributed these challenges are attributed to various macroeconomic factors, including the persistent impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Cardoso underscored the significance of the book “Cowries to Cashless,” which serves as a comprehensive record of the CBN’s historical journey.
“It particularly highlights the remarkable evolution of the Nigerian payment system over the past few decades”, he said .
He emphasized that the implementation of the cashless policy played a crucial role in advancing this transformation.
In his words: “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.”
Cardoso reassured that the CBN would maintain its collaboration with crucial stakeholders, notably the fiscal authorities, to address several significant issues and challenges confronting the nation.
Discussing the significance of the book, Princess Iphie, the author and Executive Director of Asher Global Treasures, highlighted the importance of preserving the history and evolution of money in Nigeria.
“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”, Iphie said:
In essence, the government’s focus on strengthening the Naira, coupled with collaborations with key stakeholders, reflects a proactive approach to address economic challenges and foster growth in Nigeria.