By Vincent Ujumadu
ABUJA—Former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Obadiah Mailafia, has said the naira, which was accepted in London and Saudi Arabia years ago, was not even now accepted in Benin Republic anymore.
In an interview with NAN in Abuja yesterday, Mailafia advised Nigerians against dollarisation of the naira.
Dollarisation is a situation where a country, either officially or unofficially, uses the dollar as its legal tender for conducting transactions, alongside its local currency.
He said that dollarisation or using the dollar alongside the naira as legal tender for commercial transactions was illegal and unlawful.
“In the 70s, Nigerians were spending naira in London. It was accepted. In fact, our Muslim brothers used to go to Mecca and Medina that time and they could spend and buy goods with naira,” he said
“The situation has changed that even in Benin Republic, they don’t accept naira. If we use other countries’ currencies, it means we don’t value our currency and the value will go down.
“I want a situation where we restore the honour and dignity of the naira as our proud tender currency and as a symbol of the honour of our country.”
Mailafia expressed dissatisfaction over the manner in which some government agencies quote projects in dollars, saying “it is illegal to do so.
“Any country that dollarises its economy becomes banana republic of no value or dignity. We need to build a great economy for a country that has honour and dignity in the comity of nations.
“We should also strengthen the naira, give it value; the monetary authority should give it respect to gain the trust of the people of this country.”
He advised the Federal Government to review the country’s constitution to state clearly the functions of the executive and legislature in the budgeting process.
“We have serious problem with the budget because the constitutional framework for the budget has been quite defective.
“The Constitution of 1999 gives almost unlimited powers to the National Assembly to design and rewrite entirely the budget.”
That is why we have the problem of budget padding that has bedevillecd the budgetary process,” he added.