A lot has been said about the recent fall of the Naira against the Dollar in the parallel market and the state of the Nigerian economy. People are worried and scared but I don’t think there is any reason to be scared. In fact, I now support President Buhari on his refusal to devalue the Naira. Those who are insisting that he does so, are among the individuals who have been looting our national treasury. The people who have been glamouring for the devaluation of the Naira are people who have been benefiting from the continuous devaluation of the Naira. The President must stand his ground.
The Central Bank of Nigeria banned some items imported into the country on a daily basis. Most of these items can be produced in the country but the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, told Nigerians that the CBN had actually banned the importation of over 700 items. They insisted that most of their members are closing shop because of their inability to import these items. One of these items can be gotten from palm oil. Palm oil was a major exporting product in the former Eastern Nigerian region before the civil war. Nigeria was the largest exporter of the commodity before Oil and Gas stole the show. Indonesia and Malaysia came to our country and took palm kernel seedlings and planted them in their countries. Today, both countries are the largest exporters of the product in the world.What an irony! See where our tribal selfishness has led us to! Now that the federal government have refused to devalue the Naira, thereby making it difficult for importers to import products into Nigeria, will they support the South eastern states to revive the mass production and processing of palm oil? Will Buhari now want Northerners to be the main producers of the product? This was how Obasanjo made it difficult for exporters and importers to do their business by placing high tariffs on other ports and airports so that the lagos ports and lagos and abuja airports were the only places we go export and import items in and out of the country. I wonder.
Going back to the argument at hand, the more we import goods into the country, the more we will deplete our national reserves, thereby killing the Naira, of which our politicians have depleted to the barest minimum, by diverting funds that belong to the nation, for their personal use. This cuts across parties. Also the CBN needs to stop lending money to big corporations like Dangote Group and Co. If you must ensure that the Naira does not die, you need to stop supporting large corporations. If MAN and NACCIMA members can not find forex funds to import items that they would use for their business, why would you make it easily available for Dangote to build his industries?
Nigeria has the largest consumer market in Africa and that is why we are the beautiful bride. Why would we be the largest market in Africa and major corporations would have their African head quarters or major factories built in other African countries, whose populations do not even make up to one-third of our population? Even if they built their factories in Nigeria, will the ethnic quagmire allow them to do so? Look how long it has taken the Ajaokuta Steel mill to be set up.
Although the official rate of the dollar is #198 and over #400 in the parallel (black) market, we can still buy products from foreign countries at the official rate. Even foreign organizations recognize that rate. When you go to the black market you buy at their prize. So if you want to buy a product for $200, you will need to pay #40,000. But if you go to the black market you must have double that amount to do so at #80,000 or more. With the way the world has changed with the internet, you can pay for any item online or with your atm card and spend less money.
The only time we would experience economic difficulties is when the supply for the banned products gets depleted, things will get costly. But if the government and the CBN can encourage local entrepreneurs and farmers to meet the markets needs, there will be no cause for alarm. Buy Nigerian goods to grow the Naira.