Devaluation or no devaluation of naira took the centre stage at the Daily Trust Board of Economists Breakfast Meeting with CEOs and top executives thoroughly examining two different schools of thought.
No one can be specific who the Chairman of Urban Shelter, Alhaji Ibrahim Aliyu was referring to when he lightly said somebody should kindly and mildly tell President Muhammadu Buhari that he should devalue the Naira to revive the economy sighting that in the last three decades Nigeria was number one in the world in the export of Groundnut, Cocoa, Palm Kernel, Palm Oil, Beniseed and number four in cotton while it is now almost monolithic as it exports only crude oil.
He said the Naira fell due to the over dependence on oil and that if a country is not earning foreign exchange, it is in deep economic trouble. He said the exchange rate of the dollar is marred in mystery as non-genuine importers are in to insider trading for the dollar, coupled with bureaucracy.
Alhaji Ibrahim pointed out that the solution is that Industries in Kano are comatose but they are alleged to be receiving dollar for import of raw materials. That there is the urgent need for the overhaul of how and which company should get foreign exchange. He stressed that one of the only solutions is the devaluation of the naira, Public Private Partnership, PPP and the adoption of “Abacha style” where he sold the Dollar at the black market price which stabilized the naira for long.
However, Dr Chiichii Ashwe , the Chairman of Intex Kosulting opposed this views saying Nigeria should develop from a “Casino economy” or mono-product economy of oil to a vibrant one by not devaluing the naira.
He proffers solution that what Nigeria needs is that a balance of trade deficit should be addressed as Nigeria Imports goods worth 5b dollars monthly while it exports goods worth only 1b dollars monthly. Saying the 4b dollars deficit is the problem as the $28b foreign reserve can be depleted in four months when Nigeria devalues which may be disaster to the country for a very long time.
He describes the mono-product economy as one which is fully dependent on oil. He believes the solution to the economy is the reduction of tax, removal of speculative market and the copying of the Dubai economic system as they pegged their currency to the dollar for two decades, he said President Muhammadu Buhari should also peg the one Dollar at 200 naira through-out his duration to shut out speculators .
The communiqué adopted that naira should not be devalued but for Nigerians to produce and consume locally and to have the zeal of developing the country at heart.