Nigeria And Forex Pollution by Dr. Ehiogie West-Idahosa

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In late January this year, Bismarck Rewane, a foremost financial expert in Nigeria said as follows;

“The Naira will slip to N520 in the market. Attempts to use forwards to stabilize the market will be futile. The Forex market is polluted and needs sanitization.”

Today, the Naira is already trading at N510 in the parallel market. Consequently, prices of foodstuff have hit the roof. Kerosene, bread, fish & meat are unaffordable. This is not a surprise as the dollar underpins our national life. Since we barely produce a few goods in the country and cannot earn forex sufficiently outside oil & gas, available forex is now the new scam in town. Once the cost of importation goes up, there is corresponding increase in the prices of needed goods locally. This is a logical excuse that trickles down even to hamlets.

The disparity between the official price of the dollar and the parallel market is huge. Corrupt policy makers in the apex bank are cashing in on this. Many young bankers have resigned to become agents of such CBN operatives who now allocate forex to anonymous bodies for their own benefit.

Can it also be argued that past corrupt administrations are responsible for today’s pollution of the forex market? Even if they did so, are we waiting for an angel from heaven to sanitize it for us? Is there no government in Nigeria today? Why is the leadership of CBN that appears to be soaked in policy confusion untouchable? For how long will the government continue to plead for patience when the citizens are grappling with probably the worst recession and consequential hardship in their life time.

Those who engage in solidarity marches to support this suffering must be from Jupiter, not this world. Is it that they have a secret pot which magically provides them with enough cash to cope with these hard times or may be they get paid handsomely for their activities that they do not care about the vast majority of Nigerians. In any case, in which market in this country would they get value for such money?

Only yesterday, a bag of cement was increased from N 2350 to N 2700. How can people then spend money in the construction industry as an escape route in this recession, if they know that the value of their hard earned money would only evaporate by these increases.

The dollar is the king of the NIGERIAN economy and we all know that. If you misuse the insufficient quantum available, you are setting fire on a wild bush in the dry season. That is what the CBN and their powerful patrons are doing to our country and no one is seriously calling them to order. The multiplier effect of this forex pollution will continue to inflict severe pains on our country men and women, assault our economy until the whole nation becomes an IDP camp where only those in government and a few of their alleluia friends can survive.

The government should act now

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