The Presidency announced yesterday that President Bola Tinubu’s administration is actively formulating policies aimed at bolstering the Naira, Nigeria’s national currency. Dr. Tope Fasua, the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, made this disclosure during the “Cowries to Cash” lecture and luncheon in Abuja.
In recent days, the Naira has experienced a steady increase in value, and Fasua attributed this positive trend to the government’s strategic policies. He emphasized that the depreciation of a country’s currency is a sign of vulnerability, asserting, “When you want to destroy a country, destroy its currency first.”
Fasua issued a warning to Nigerians who are hoarding foreign currencies in anticipation of further Naira depreciation, cautioning them that the government’s forthcoming policies would be a shock to their expectations.
Speaking on behalf of Vice President Kashim Shettima, Fasua expressed confidence in President Tinubu’s visionary agenda, which includes ambitious goals like achieving a trillion-dollar economy for Nigeria by 2026. He hinted at the likelihood of the Naira gaining more strength, possibly reaching exchange rates of 500 or 600 against the US dollar.
Banking Sector Reorganization for Naira Stability
Fasua also revealed that there would be a significant reorganization of the banking sector to enhance the stability and strength of the Naira. He emphasized the importance of strategic positioning, including the value of the currency, to support export initiatives. He hinted at coordinated efforts from both the monetary and fiscal sides of the government.
Fasua asserted, “We have patriots running the economy right now, and naysayers have to be very, very afraid.”
CBN Governor Addresses Economic Challenges
The event featured a keynote address from Dr. Olayemi Cardoso, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). He acknowledged that Nigeria is currently facing economic challenges due to macroeconomic factors linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Cardoso discussed the book “Cowries to Cashless,” which highlights the transformation of the Nigerian payment system in recent decades. He noted the CBN’s commitment to fostering financial inclusion and increasing access to formal financial services, aiming to reach over 95% of Nigerians.
The CBN governor reassured that the CBN would continue collaborating with fiscal authorities to address the country’s critical economic issues and challenges.
Preserving Nigeria’s Monetary Evolution
Princess Iphie, the author of the book and the Executive Director of Asher Global Treasures, emphasized the importance of preserving the evolution of money and its history in Nigeria. She highlighted the need to understand the past and present to shape the future.
Experts Weigh In on Naira Strengthening
In response to these developments, David Adonri, Vice Executive Chairman at HIGHCAP Securities Limited, suggested that addressing foreign currency-denominated debt, clearing outstanding CBN obligations, and prioritizing infrastructure development should be the focus, rather than pursuing currency speculators.
Mallam Garba Kurfi, CEO of APT Securities and Funds Limited, expressed hope that the announced policy would curb speculation by discouraging the use of foreign currencies for transactions within Nigeria. He proposed that all services and products should be priced in Naira, including bonuses paid to individuals operating in the Nigerian market.
The announcement of policies to strengthen the Naira has generated a mix of anticipation and expert opinions, as Nigeria’s economic landscape potentially faces significant changes in the near future.