From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
A renowned businessman and the founder of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr. Atedo Peterside, has accused Nigerian government of deliberating stifling businesses in Nigeria through its unfavorable economic policies particularly the practice of multiple exchange rates.
Peterside, a keynote speaker at the 2017 first quarterly dinner of the Kings College Lagos Old Boys Association held in Abuja on Friday, lampooned the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for adopting multiple exchange rate that has been rejected globally as a bad economic policy.
He was, however, happy that CBN has heeded to public outcry on the futility of starving almost all sectors of the economy of forex because they wanted the manufacturers to receive 60 percent of the available forex.
CBN, according to him, later saw the need to make little adjustments by making forex available through the banks at N360/1$ to hundreds of thousands of Nigerians that had been needlessly starved before, thus driving them to parallel market to access forex for business travel, school fees, medical bills and others.
Peterside, who is also the Chairman of Cadbury Nigeria ,registered his dissatisfaction with the CBN policy of embracing multiple exchange rate, bank quotas and all sorts of forex window as part of deliberate policy.
He said, “It is mind boggling and difficult to understand why Nigeria, in 2017, would embrace multiple exchange rates which have been rejected globally as a bad economic idea that was only embraced by intellectually and morally bankrupt economists.
“There is no known economic theory on earth that favours multiple exchange rate as a viable medium or long term economic policy prescription. The instrument that is globally accepted for discriminating between types of users is trade policy, which could administer tariffs, levies and special taxes.”
Peterside who spoke on the topic, “Evolving Economy, Good Governance and Repositioning Nigeria” appealed to CBN to salvage Nigerian economy and business investments by speedily dismantling the concoction of multiple exchange rates, bank quotas and special windows in record time.
Aside the forex management by the CBN, Peterside identified 10 other major impediments to speedy economic recovery which, he believed, if tackled would jump-start the economy if given adequate consideration. They include; truce with Niger Delta militants, strategic asset sales, deregulation of downstream petroleum sector, unaffordable and bloated public service, political restructuring.
Others are social and physical infrastructure deficit, dysfunctional legal system, anti corruption crusade and rule of law, restoring business confidence and strengthening the regulatory agencies.