It was another sad day for the naira, the nation’s currency, as it further lost its value at the parallel market, exchanging N345 for a dollar.
The devaluation campaign against the naira, given the low foreign exchange receipt of the Federal Government from crude oil, has been resisted by the monetary and fiscal authorities on the argument that previous devaluations under the same economic conditions did not result in anything better.
But it does now appear that after each resistance from the government, more pressure would come through increased demand for the greenback.
On Friday, naira had closed N340 to the dollar, even as the official rate remained at 197.50 and the same at the close of trading yesterday.
The Director of Research at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Vincent Nwanne, at TheCable colloquium, had alleged that exchange rate challenges have put about 80,000 jobs on the line in the manufacturing sector.
He said that beside the 41 items on the prohibition list, operators have been facing difficult times in sourcing the required funding for the importation of the items that are allowed.
But in a surprised response, the Acting President of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, alleged that there were high-level leakages in the system, causing the pressure, besides the legitimate demand.
“It is still not about devaluation because even if we devalue to N500, the pressure will still be there, going by the way things are now.
“It is high time we started asking where the millions of dollar intervention goes. The system is such that even importers will get the dollar, but no one would know if they actually import the items.
“For me, the government should think about putting mechanism in place to ensure that whatever everyone demands the dollar for, is actually imported. For me, I still believe there is high-level round-tripping around.
The supply side of the market should be addressed by allowing oil companies and banks to sell dollar to bureau de change operators as an immediate measure to reduce pressure on the naira,” Gwadabe said.
The latest pressure has been attributed to speculations that the Central Bank of Nigeria would soon include overseas’ school and medical bills into the prohibition list, causing a panic buy to hedge against scarcity.
Already, international price of crude oil has remained below $30 a barrel, while Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves has fallen to $27.84 billion yesterday.