Osinbajo, former CBN Governor in war of words

By Post Nigeria February 28, 2016 17:00

Osinbajo, former CBN Governor in war of words

The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has again thrown his weight behind President Muhammadu Buhari, in resisting mounting pressures to devalue the local currency (Naira).

Osinbajo speaking during at a town hall meeting, which he held with his co-tenants in the Victoria Garden City, VGC, at the Lekki-Epe axis of Lagos, reaffirmed the Federal government’s resolve not to devalue the Naira.

Also present at the meeting was a former Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor, Joseph Sanusi, who faulted the government’s stand and said it was merely postponing the evil day.

Osinbajo declared at the well attended session that the devaluation of the Naira was not on the card at all.

He explained that the administration’s policy was to, “come up with a flexible exchange rate to be supported by strong monetary policies” and the objective was to stop unnecessary consumption of imported goods and promote local manufacturing.

However, the former CBN governor advised the government to either devalue the currency or stop the confusion between the official and parallel market exchange rates.

He said allowing an official rate at N197 per dollar while the parallel market goes for over N300 was “distractive”.

“Naira is already devalued and government not accepting it, is postponing the evil day,” he added.

However, the vice President added at the forum that the Buhari Administration met a falling revenue profile in May 2015, which was down by about 70 per cent compared to the same period of the preceding year.

He said that in spite of the high cost of about $22 to produce a barrel of crude oil now selling at about $33 dollars, at least 38 per cent of the foreign reserve was spent on importing petroleum products.

He also said the previous administration was spending about N20 billion on food importation annually, which reduced the nation’s foreign reserve drastically from about $40 billion to about $25 billion.

He further added that the government was now poised to diversify the economy by investing heavily in agriculture and solid minerals production with a view to making the country self-sufficient in rice, poultry and palm oil production as well as developing the entire agriculture value chain to create wealth and jobs for the teeming youth.

The vice president noted the administration was targeting 2018 for complete reliance on refined petroleum products, adding that the petrochemical industry, railway infrastructure and provision of other infrastructure were top on the priority list of this government.

Related: Shock as Buhari settles for a jamboree

On the Boko Haram insurgency, he said the terror sect had been degraded as a “military might”, although pockets of suicide bombings still take place.

“This is a challenge we must tackle going forward, but the other challenge is the over two million people displaced by insurgency who need resettlement,” he said.