Forex crisis: Group pickets CBN, makes demands

Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor

Organisers of #OccupyCBN movement returned to the streets of Abuja on Friday, demanding the immediate reversal of “punitive and fraudulent foreign exchange regime” of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The rally, which is holding for the second time in two weeks, was organised by Nigerian Wailers, a political action group led by Deji Adeyanju.

Mr. Adeyanju’s group is circulating pamphlets with graphical illustration of how the lingering foreign exchange crisis is enabling a few individuals with access to those in government to keep cashing in to the detriment of a plurality of Nigerians.

Nigerians have been groaning in hunger since the downward trend of the country’s economy began taking its toll last year.

The Buhari administration blamed shrinking value of the naira, low crude prices and runaway inflation for the crisis.

 The administration urged the citizens to be patient for the palliative measures being put in place to materialise.

But Mr. Adeyanju said Nigerians are grappling with unbearable hardship and called on the CBN to relax its grip on the national currency and gain the confidence of investors.

“From 1960 to 2015 when President Buhari took power, dollar only went up from N1 to $1 to $1 to 200,” Mr. Adeyanju said in a message to PREMIUM TIMES Friday. “But in just one year under President Buhari, it has gone up by N300 and now exchanges for N500 to just $1.”

CBN spokesman, Isaac Okorafor, did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ request for comment Friday afternoon.

Mr. Adeyanju said the CBN has been pretending to float the naira but foreign investors could see through the deceit and stayed away.

The CBN should “reverse its policy of its controlled ‘float’ of the Naira,” Mr. Adeyanju said. “We recommend that the CBN implements a policy where the Naira is freely floated and allowed to find its proper value.”

“We are aware that this would in the short run probably spike a worsening in the exchange rate.

“But if this is implemented in tandem with other investor-friendly policies, it would spur an increase in the amount of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) that Nigeria receives. We are fully aware that an increase in the amount of FDI and FPI will go a long way in improving the value of the Naira,” he added.

Nigerian Wailers, which is the eponym of a joke by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, also urged President Buhari to commence holistic overhaul of the land use regime to boost agriculture in order for much needed foreign exchange and employment generation.

The group vowed to continue its campaign until its demands are met.

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