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Naira stability only guarantee to attracting investments — Experts

Experts in the trade and investment sector have called on the federal government to by all means maintain a level of stability in the forex…

Experts in the trade and investment sector have called on the federal government to by all means maintain a level of stability in the forex market to guarantee meaningful investments in the country.

They made the call in Abuja Wednesday at a one-day roundtable on “Strengthening the Naira” organised by the Policy Advocacy Centre of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).

Speaking at the event, the Second Vice President of ACCI, Dr Idi Hong, noted that economic growth would be difficult if the naira was not experiencing some level of stability.

He said, “In Nigeria today no enterprise will survive with the way our foreign exchange is fluctuating. If the naira will trade against the dollar at N2,000, let the government tell us so that businesses can plan, because as it stands now, no business can plan as it is not feasible.

“The complaints we are getting today is that if businesses plan for dollars against the naira at N1,500, tomorrow it will be N2,000 and nobody can cope with such fluctuations.”

The President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Samuel Agbeluyi, while contributing to a panel discussion, noted that reduction of taxes would go a long way in stabilising the naira and attracting foreign investments.

He said, “President Bola Tinubu has come out with a blueprint to address multiplicity of taxes as there are many businesses that pay 65 taxes; which is anarchy. The president has now set up a presidential committee on fiscal policy and tax reforms with a one-year mandate to trim the taxes from 65 to nine, and the committee is already rounding up its mandate.

“Another area that should be looked at to strengthen the naira is to also beam searchlights on individuals who do not pay taxes. South Africa has a population of 60 million people and they made about N27trn equivalent from personal income tax while Nigeria collects only N2.7trn and our population is over 200 million; which calls for more action in bringing the rich into the tax net.”

Similarly, Mohammed Yelwa, a professor of economics at the University of Abuja, queried the appreciation of the naira all of a sudden from the worst performing currency in February, to the best last week when channels of production had not improved.

He said, “No meaningful production and exports have happened in Nigeria over the past few months and there is no justification to say that the naira is the best performing currency. What CBN has done is temporary. The two issues are the fuel subsidy removal and the devaluation of the naira; even when we are import-dependent. So, for us to strengthen the naira, we have to boost exports.”

He, however, noted that the clearing of the backlog and frequent disbursements of forex to BDCs had helped to provide some stability for the naira.

In the same vein, an economist and Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Dignity Finance and Investment Limited, Chijioke Ekechukwu, said one of the first steps to naira strengthening was recapitalisation of the banks; which he noted the CBN had already commenced.

He said, “The asset and capital base of one bank in South Africa is more than all the banks in Nigeria, so we need to recapitalise our banks if we are expecting a lot of inflows into the country.

Earlier in his remarks, the President of ACCI, Emeka Obegolu (SAN), said the roundtable represented a vital component of the chamber’s advocacy strategy aimed at fostering deeper dialogues surrounding economic policies and their implications for the business community.

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