A group under the auspices of Nigeria Economic Advancement Forum (NEAF), on Wednesday, faulted the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, over his recent comment on Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) policy on exchange rate, accusing the vice president of having an ulterior motive behind his sudden criticism of the apex bank.
LEADERSHIP reports that Osinbajo through his senior special assistant on media and publicity, Laolu Akande, had denied that he called for devaluation of the naira, saying his comment was misunderstood.
But Osinbajo had called on the CBN to allow the naira to reflect the realities of the market during the Mid-Term Ministerial Performance Review Retreat at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Monday.
The VP had said the exchange rate was artificially low and it deters investors from bringing foreign exchange into the country.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued by the group’s national chairman, Abduljamid Musa and national zecretary, Mercy Daniel, in Kaduna, the group maintained that the mission and intentions of Vice President Osinbajo can barely be disguised, “especially as he has in the last seven years swallowed hook-line-and-sinker, politics, programmes and policies of the Buhari administration,” wondering what has now changed.
“Why should the VP target CBN for castigation in the first place, a Federal Government agency that has introduced multiple economic stabilisation measures, including the use of microfinance bank (NIRSAL) to provide badly needed funds for farmers and businessmen across the nation? Why should 2023 ambition becloud the VP’s judgement? It’s unfortunate,” the group said.
The statement added that it was worrisome that at a time Nigeria, like other nations, was striving to jumpstart its economy following the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the vice president was allegedly opting to be a one-man squad for 2023 poll.
The group wondered why Prof. Osinbajo would drag in the mud the monetary and fiscal policies of a government he serves as second-in-command and defacto head of the economic management team.
According to the group, the just ended Mid-term Performance Review Retreat for Ministers, Managers of Nigeria’s economy and other top officials of government, was an inappropriate platform for Osinbajo to have asked the CBN governor to adjust the Naira exchange rate “to be as reflective of the market as possible to boost supply,” pretending not to know the cocktail of factors that led to that, as an official of the administration with an unfettered access to privileged information.”
The forum noted that the CBN has since the outbreak of the pandemic, been working assiduously to stem the rapid fall of the Naira against the Dollar.
The statement posited that the CBN under Godwin Emefiele has often explained that no currency is managed at fixed rate value and that the value of any currency is to the degree of the strength of the economy of the concerned nation.