A former senior Special assistant to former President Jonathan Public affairs, Mr. Doyin Okupe has criticized the new Forex policy of the CBN as directed by the federal executive recently.
Okupe described the policy as unsustainable and may actually “limit national economic growth and development”.
The former assistant said the present salutary effect of shoring up the value of naira is best palliative with no long term socioeconomic benefit to the Nigerian people.
The controversial former aide said the policy would benefit elites like himself who were at the point of returning their children from abroad to continue their education in Nigeria.
Okupe said ” Currently the CBN since its new intervention has spent close to $1.4B to bring the value of the naira down. Meanwhile there is no statistical evidence that prices of goods and services have dropped correspondingly. So who is benefiting?
“Beneficiaries are elite patents like me, who were at the verge of withdrawing our children home from schooling abroad. Others are former colleagues of the CBN governor, the bankers, and rent seekers licensed by the CBN as bureau de change operators. Others are real and fake manufacturers who collect Forex, some, under false pretenses of importing needless raw materials.
“By the end of this year if the CBN must maintain its intervention, we would have committed about $5B (or 20% of our total inflow from oil) or more to this obnoxious scheme.”
Okupe said his intention was not to condemn the federal government move, but stressed that the new policy is not a permanent solution to the forex problem.
“I am not absolutely condemning this intervention, but I am stating that it is not a permanent solution to our Forex dilemma. We must as a nation stop employing “knee jerk” solutions to deep rooted economic problems.
“Government must have a focused economic policy which must clearly be made to target a growth and developmental objective. These policies in the process of their implementation may bring some hardships, change of attitude, which we must of necessity endure. If we must employ palliatives as we are doing with this new Forex policy, it must be with rational timelines, just as a prelude to our ultimate developmental objective.”
He continued “I cannot in good conscience blame the current anomalous Forex debacle on this administration alone. This is a malaise we should have addressed over the last 20yrs.
“But the fact that this regime itself that came in on the promise of change is yet to show signs it has a deep understanding of this issues, nearly two years after, is deeply worrisome.
“We need to build and strengthen our educational institutions such that our elites will no longer need scarce Forex to pay for their children’s school fees abroad.
“We need world class health institutions that will guaranty that our leaders do not need to rush abroad for all medical emergencies and chronic illnesses.
“We need policies that will allow non essential industries requiring importation of 100% of their raw materials to die and encourage the establishment of industries with very high local raw materials contents.
“Devaluation by itself may not be absolutely undesirable, provided it can be used as instrument to create wealth, reduce poverty , create jobs and improve the living standard and well being of our teaming population.”
It could be recalled that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had planned to inject more Foreign Exchange (Forex) into the market to meet the requests of genuine customers.
CBN intervention in the interbank market over the past two months, shows the highest bid rate was N360 per dollars, while the lowest was N315 per dollar.’
It disclosed that the bank had since February offered over one billion dollars to the interbank market.