Senior special assistant on media and publicity to the vice president, Laolu Akande, has said his principal, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, did not call for devaluation of the naira.
Osinbajo had called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to allow the naira to reflect the realities of the market. He stated this on Monday during the Mid-Term Ministerial Performance Review Retreat at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
He added that the exchange rate is artificially low, saying it deters investors from bringing foreign exchange into the country.
However, the comments were met with knocks as he was criticised for calling for the devaluation of the naira.
But in his reaction yesterday, Akande said the vice president has at all times argued against a willy-nilly devaluation of the naira.
He said, “Our attention has been drawn to statements and reports in the media mischaracterizing as a call for devaluation, the view of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN that the Naira exchange rate was being kept artificially low.
“Prof. Osinbajo is not calling for the devaluation of the Naira. He has at all times argued against a willy-nilly devaluation of the Naira.
“For context, the Vice President’s point was that currently, the Naira exchange rate benefits only those who can obtain the dollar at N410, some of whom simply turn round and sell to the parallel market at N570.
“It is stopping this huge arbitrage of over N160 per dollar that the Vice President was talking about. Such a massive difference discourages doing proper business, when selling the dollar can bring in 40 per cent profit!”
“This was why the Vice President called for measures that would increase the supply of foreign exchange in the market rather than simply managing demand, which opens up irresistible opportunities for arbitrage and corruption.
“It is a well-known fact that foreign investors and exporters have been complaining that they could not bring foreign exchange in at N410 and then have to purchase foreign exchange in the parallel market at N570 to meet their various needs on account of unavailability of foreign exchange.
“Only a more market reflective exchange rate would ameliorate this. With an increase in the supply of dollars the rates will drop and the value of the Naira will improve.
“The real issue confronting the economy on this matter is how to improve the supply of foreign exchange, but this will not happen if we do not allow mechanisms like the Importers and Exporters window to work.
“If we allow this market mechanism to work as intended, we will find that the Naira will appreciate against the dollar as we restore confidence in the system,” he added.