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As it happened: Policy dialogue on the devaluation of the naira

11 February 2016, 11:16

Lagos -  Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole on Thursday delivered the keynote address at the inaugural TheCable Colloquium.

The colloquium with the theme “The Naira on Trial: To Devalue or Not? was held at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Oshiomhole in his address encouraged Nigerians to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision not to devalue the naira.

He advocated for more products and factories to be built in Nigeria which will help strengthen the naira and the nation’s economy.

A four-man panel discussed the topic.

The panel included Bismarck Rewane, CEO of Financial Derivatives, Issa Aremu, deputy national president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Moses Tule, Director, CBN Monetary Policy Department, and Muda Yusuf, Director-General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

The discussion was moderated by Frank Aigbogun, Founder & CEO, BusinessDay

12:30 Question and answer time

Aigbogun asks: Which exchange rate governs our life today?
Aremu answers,. saying it is the parallel market.

"Inter-bank," Tule responds, but the audience diagrees with a roar.

Rewane says.” Everybody in this audience knows that you cannot get the dollar at 199; you get it at the parallel market, so let's not deceive ourselves

Oshomole says: “In my village, the price of Garri, Boli has nothing to do with your exchange rate>

"Lets not look at the value of the naira with respect to other currencies, but how much it can buy at home

12: 25: Rewane takes the stage.

He said devaluation is not as impolitical as people are making it seem.

He talks about people abusing the system, obtaining forex from the central bank and selling across the roads without rendering any service. 

He says Nigeria has two options: Do something and have a policy or do nothing.

12: 20 Muda Yusuf, director-general of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry says CBN has the right to regulate but must be clear about it.

He said the manufacturing sector love risk, but hate uncertainty. 

He said his members have been unable to source for dollars for the items outside th list of 41 items that were banned.

He said about 80 000 jobs are at risk in the manufacturing sector.

12;10 Aremu aligns himself with the submissions of Gov. Oshiomole

He, however, said government has not show the will that it can't tacckle the issue squarely.

He says there is no substitite to good governance.

He stated that there was no basis for calls to devalue the naira

"We are all talking of a major shock, but what shock can be stronger than oil dropping to $10 dollar per barrel under General Sani Abacha? Still, the naira did not exchange for more than 22 to a dollar." 

12;05: Frank Aigbogun, founder & CEO, BusinessDay, opens the floor for panelists to begin their discussion.

Isa Aremu, deputy President of NLC to speak first.

11: 50 Moses Tule, director, CBN monetary policy department, takes the floor.

He said the problem with the naira has to do with the elites.

His words: "The issues we're discussing here today, we know exactly what to do. But who in government has ever agreed that we should tackle the problems head-on?" 

"Devaluation may come someday but it may then come on the strength of a strong industrial policy."

11:30: Oshiomhole said like President Muhammadu Buhari , he does not believe that the naira should be devalued.

He said he aligns his position with that of President Buhari, who has insisted on many occasions that the naira would not be devalued

He stated while export-driven economies could benefit from devaluation of their currencies, devaluation will only result in further inflation and hardship for the poor and middle classes in Nigeria’s import-dependent economy.

He said If devaluation was the answer, it should have worked after all the past devaluations

His words: "If devaluation was an answer, from one to one we didn't find the answer, from one to nine we didn't answer and now one to 198 we still can't find the answer... then the position President Buhari and the CBN is viable." 

He said Nigerians have no business to support those who live on speculations.

He said Nigerians must support CBN to push speculations out of business

11: 10 Gov Adams Oshiomhole  said the issue of devaluation of the naira would not have taken the front burner if oil prices have not taken a nosedive.

He said the issue of  devaluation of the naira should not be left alone to the experts. he said everybody must be concerned with the current state of the naira.

He said the poor people are the greatest economists, because they live on their meagre earnings without lending from the formal or informal sector. 

He said he believes certain interest are behind the clamour for the devaluation of the naira. 

He said investment bankers are the ones prosecuting the naira.

10:00 Simon Kolawale, founder and CEO of Cable Newspaper, gives his address of welcome. He said the debate is to offer Nigerians a better understanding of the challenges facing the country and allow a decent debate on the way forward.

Lagos - With pressure mounting on the Central Bank of Nigeria to devalue the naira, TheCable newspaper is organizing a  policy dialogue on the exchange rate on Thursday, February 11, 2016 at the Civic Centre,

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state, will deliver the keynote address at the inaugural colloquium

The four-man panel to discuss the topic, “The Naira on Trial: To Devalue or Not?”, is made up of Bismarck Rewane, CEO of Financial Derivatives, Issa Aremu, deputy national president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Moses Tule, director, CBN Monetary Policy Department, and Muda Yusuf, director-general of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The discussion will be moderated by Frank Aigbogun, founder & CEO, BusinessDay.

- News 24


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