VICE President Prof. Yomi Osinbajo yesterday reaffirmed the position of the Federal Government that the country’s currency would not be devalued in spite of pressures to act otherwise.
But the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Mr Joseph Sanusi, replied that delaying the devaluation was akin to postponing the evil day.
The positions were taken at a town hall meeting that the Vice President held with his co-tenants in the Victoria Garden City (VGC) on the Lekki-Epe axis of Lagos.
At the widely attended and thought-provoking event, Osinbajo insisted that devaluation was not on the table.
According to him, the CBN would operate in line with the speech delivered by President Muhammadu Buhari, after he was elected, to come up with flexible exchange rate to be supported by strong monetary policies.
He said that the foreign exchange policy of government was to stop unnecessary consumption of imported goods and promote local manufacturing.
Osinbajo also said that government met a falling revenue profile in May 2015, which was down by about 70 per cent compared to the same period of the preceding year.
He also said that in spite of the high cost of about $22 to produce a barrel of crude oil now selling at about $33 dollars, no fewer than 38 per cent of the foreign reserve was being spent on importing petroleum products.
Osinbajo said that the previous administration spent about N20 billion on food importations annually, which reduced the nation’s foreign reserve drastically from about $40 billion to about $25 billion.
However, Sanusi, a VGC resident, advised the government to either devalue the currency or stop the confusion between the official and parallel market exchange rates.
He said that allowing an official rate at N197 per dollar while the parallel market sold for over N300 was “distractive.”