Eminent business mogul and former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has called on the Federal Government to abolish the current dual exchange rate regime as a way of attracting foreign investors and discouraging imports.
He pointed out that the current forex regime has further widened the gap between the rich and the poor with the huge differential between the inter-bank and the parallel markets.
According to the ex-governor, government has no business in business, adding that for the economy to improve, the Buhari administration must provide a conducive environment by investing in infrastructure.
Kalu made these remarks at a dinner he hosted in honour of a cross-section of Abuja-based entrepreneurs at his residence in Abuja.
He said, “despite the current state of the Nigerian economy, I am optimistic that the future is bright if government implements practical policies that will stimulate the economy.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cannot continue to regulate the economy by actively pegging the exchange rate. Market forces should determine the value of the naira.
“In the long run, a flexible exchange regime will attract foreign investments and ultimately lead to generation of foreign exchange while discouraging imports.
“The local economy needs stimulus to foster growth and development and one of such initiatives is to immediately promote a market-driven exchange regime.
“As it is now, banks and other financial institutions, which are key players in the economy, can no longer withstand the pressure of forex demand, hence the need to allow demand and supply factors determine the exchange rate.
“As an established businessman, I feel the pains of business owners, who don’t have access to the inter-bank rate and as such will remain disadvantaged in doing business with those that have the leverage of getting forex at the inter-bank rate.
“The only way to achieve sustainable growth and development is by allowing a market-driven process determine the forex rate,” he said.
Speaking on his defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC), Kalu stated that his membership of the party was borne out of the desire to attract more federal presence in terms of infrastructure to the South East for the sake of development.
Kalu reaffirmed that the APC will continue to keep to its manifesto and as such will not betray the trust of Nigerians, adding that the APC remains a strong and united political party.
Earlier in his speech, Mr. Victor Ugwuh had urged prominent Nigerians to emulate the entrepreneurship spirit of Kalu, stating that the former governor has continually established new businesses for the sake of creating job opportunities and creating wealth for the people.