The Organised Labour warned on Wednesday that a dollar will soon exchange for N600, if the Nigeria Government continues to submit to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank induced policies that would further distort and repress our currency.
The Organised Labour also described the present exchange rate of N450 to a dollar as a criminal conspiracy against the Nigerian people; warning that no meaningful development can take place under this outrageous exchange rate regime.
Speaking during the Quadrennial Delegates Conference of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) in Abuja, the President of ASCSN and former President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Bobboi Kaigama, the President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, and the President of TUC, Comrade Quadri Olaleye, warned that Nigeria Government should be wary of neo-liberal institutions, the IMF and the World Bank.
In is valedictory speech, Comrade Kaigama, who will be handing over the ASCSN Presidency to a newly elected person after the conference said it is now time to defend the Naira, thereby, calling on the Federal Government to rise up to the occasion to defend the Naira through a well-coordinated approach.
Kaigama said: “It is on this note that I call on the Federal Government to rise up to the occasion to defend the Naira through a well-coordinated approach as it has been revealed that there are numerous sources of inflow of foreign currencies into the country that if well tapped and managed could shore up the value of the Naira rather than submitting to the IMF induced policies that would further distort and repress our currency as this will definitely lead to a situation where more than N600 will exchange for a US Dollar.
“The dire strait we find ourselves with regard to the value of the Naira can best be addressed by financial wizardry, sheer genius in economic statecraft, fiscal discipline, good savings habit, economic rebirth and transformation. This calls ultimately for curbing waste, profligacy and fastidious discipline.
“Allocation of available dollar should be made to the productive sectors most especially the industrial sector. The time to defend the Naira is now. Remember the adage that says, “A stitch in time saves nine or more.”
He added: “The exchange rate of N450 to a dollar is a criminal conspiracy against the Nigerian people. No meaningful development can take place under this outrageous exchange rate regime. Things cannot continue like this else we are all doomed.”
He pointed out that the centrality of a nation’s currency in defending its territorial integrity cannot be overemphasized, adding that the value of a country’s currency dictates its market dominance.
He said: “Market dominance, of course, dictates global influence, and global influence gives the country the leverage in world affairs. More importantly, this global influence is worth protecting. It is in view of this that countries worth their salt do everything possible to protect their currencies.
“Unfortunately, we have failed to live up to our billing as the giant of Africa in the currency warfare going on in the world. Ever since the Naira suffered its first fatal blow as a result of the IMF-inspired devaluation of late 1980, the slide of the national currency against other major international currencies is growing worse by the day.”
On the rising debt profile, he pointed out that as at March 2020, Nigeria’s total debt portfolio stood at N28.63tr, out of which external debt obligation accounts for N9.99tr.
He said: “These figures are indeed very frightening and worrisome. Although many third world countries depend largely on foreign borrowings as veritable instruments to raise funds for development, the greatest tragedy is that in most cases, these countries including Nigeria, do not channel these loans into projects they are meant for in the first instance but invariably prefer to divert them to serve inappropriate purposes.
“This has led to deficit in the development of infrastructure and social amenities in such countries. Indeed, Nigeria’s debt trajectory has been made worse by the effects of COVID-19 pandemic and there are no signs that the economy will be stimulated anytime soon just as the Debt Management Office has expressed fears that it will be really difficult for Nigeria to service its debts. With so much borrowing, it seems certain that the future economic outlook of the country is very bleak.
“I wish to suggest, therefore, that Nigeria should develop the culture of savings for the rainy days and through that process rely less on foreign loans for its operations.”
Also, Comrade Wabba stated that this what the World Bank and the IMF have succeeded in doing, adding, “every administration that has come in, in Nigeria World Bank and the IMF will come in with three policies- to devalue the currency; privatize; and remove subsidy.”
Comrade Olaleye, also speaking, said the Nigeria government should look inward a desist from accepting every policy direction of the IMF and World Bank which have not worked in the interest of the very poor Nigerian masses for many years.