Reno Omokri has lectured singer Paul Okoye after he told Nigerians that he was still ‘standing’ despite the current exchange rate.
He said actually, the Naira is N1025 to the dollar, not because Nigeria’s economy is. The Naira has never been strong since the Shagari regime. In the last forty years, we have either pegged the Naira or artificially sustained its value through government-controlled foreign exchange markets.
The reason the Naira was trading at N150 to $1 during our administration and at #550 to $1 under Buhari’s presidency is because the Naira was being defended by the Central Bank of Nigeria, which was artificially pumping dollars into the market to stabilise the Naira. Basically, we were giving away our foreign reserves.
Under the current system, the Naira is being floated. That means that market forces determine the value of the Naira, as it does in America, Europe and England. This will now allow us to use our foreign reserve for development rather than to fund importers. Every major Presidential candidate, except Kwankwaso, said they would float the Naira. Let us try to be patriotic to reap future gain.
If you look at the monthly income going into the Federal Account Allocation Committee account since fuel subsidy was removed and the Naira was floated, you will notice it has increased exponentially.
For example, in July 2023, the FAAC income was N1.9 trillion, the highest ever in our history. To put this in perspective, a year ago, in August of 2022, our total income was N885 billion. By July 2023, the Naira had not collapsed to M1025 to $1.
If we keep paying fuel subsidies and importing, we will never have a strong and stable economy. Japan, India, Vietnam and Indonesia deliberately weakened their currencies to promote exports and local consumption, and it worked. We must make sacrifices and do the same in Nigeria, or else we will keep frittering away our foreign reserves, importing needles and toothpicks from Asia that can be made in Nigeria. And only traders will benefit. The manufacturing and service sectors of the economy will not.