Economy

June 12, 2024

FG must go after FX stashed in private vaults to strengthen Naira — Dogara 

FG must go after FX stashed in private vaults to strengthen Naira — Dogara 

By Miftaudeen Raji

A former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara said the Federal Government must go after foreign exchange stashed in private vaults in order to strengthen the falling naira.

Dogara stated this while speaking on Wednesday at The Platform Nigeria, a programme by Lagos-based church, Covenant Nation, to mark the 2024 Democracy Day.

The former lawmaker lamented that the insatiable appetite of Nigerians for the Dollars has been responsible for the steady decline in the value of the naira because “all shady and authentic deals are closed in USD”.

According to him, the US greenback has become the currency of choice of Nigerians and as long as we don’t kill our appetite for it, no appreciable value can be gotten.

Recall that the naira tripped from about N800/$1 in May 2023 to about N1,500/$1 currently.

Dogara said Nigerians have lost faith in the naira as a store of value and that the government should move fast to restore that faith.

He said, “The USD is not going away anytime soon. The challenge before the government is how to unlock and make the USD locked up in private vaults in Nigeria begin to chase the naira. That to me, is the commonsensical solution. 

“I believe we have enough dollars in this country that we can unlock to make our economy work and crash the FX rate,” he added.

Dogara also said the government should make it a policy to sell crude oil in naira and not in dollar.

He said, “To achieve this, the government must demand that all Nigerian exports, including crude oil exports, be paid for in naira, just as we don’t pay for any import into Nigeria from any country in naira. It’s not too much to demand that.”

He proposed that security agencies should sniff around and get politicians and bigwigs hoarding dollars in private vaults.

Dogara said, “Government through credible intelligence generated by security agencies ought or should know those individuals in Nigeria who have taken advantage of the system and they have idle USD stashed in their private vaults.

“Should they fail to respond, it is my considered opinion that Mr President should invoke and apply the MBS solution, the Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud in Saudi Arabia.

“No one who has taken advantage of the system should have the liberty to store in excess what his or her country desperately needs in other to lift millions of its people out of multidimensional poverty.

“I believe that the naira, as it stands today, grossly undervalued. The most productive nations are not necessarily the nations with the strongest currencies. China is a perfect example.

“Take a look at the West African CFA countries. What are they producing and exporting relative to Nigeria. Why does CFA seems immune from the volatility our naira suffers?

“What can we find in economic theories that justifies the strength of the CFA against the naira? What was Nigeria producing in General Abacha’s days or OBJ or Jonathan’s days when naira was a bit stronger that we are not producing now?” Dogara asked.

“If the current downward spiral of the naira is not arrested, I fear that we may get to a point where we will have to ditch the naira altogether… May God forbid that,” he said.