By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives yesterday asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to immediately put in place, a policy to check further devaluation of the Naira against the United States (US) dollar and other international legal tenders.
This is just as the Lower Chamber mandated its committee on Banking and Currency to ensure compliance with the directive, and report back in two weeks for further legislative action.
These followed a motion sponsored under matters of urgent public importance on Wednesday, by Hon. Bamidele Salam, who recalled that in February, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele while addressing the Bankers Committee during a summit on the economy in Lagos, informed the committee about the Naira devaluation against the USD, to the effect that the official exchange rate stands at N410 to the dollar.
The lawmaker argued that the figure represented 7.6 percent weaker than the rate of N379 published on the apex bank’s website, noting that “while the value of the Nigerian naira relative to the US dollar has declined by 9% in the last 6 months, the South African Rand and Ghanaian Cedi, have appreciated by 11.4 percent and One percent respectively”.
According to him, in January 2021, the naira exchanged to the US$ at about N377, but that by June 7th, 2021, however, it exchanged for about N411. “The South African Rand, on the other hand, exchanged for about 15.14 Rand to the US$ in January and at about 13.41 Rand as of June 7th, 2021. Likewise, the Ghanaian Cedi, which exchanged for 1 US dollar at about 5.818 Cedi’s in January, has remained relatively stable in the last six months and even appreciated by about One percent”, he noted.
In his opinion, “all is not well with the naira and whatever policy is being adopted to manage it at the moment”, thus the urgent need to halt further value decline.
The lawmaker lamented that while CBN has adopted multiple exchange rates since last year in a bid to avoid an outright devaluation, and the official rate used as a basis for budget preparation and other official transactions when ch differ from a closely controlled exchange rate for investors and exporters, the Naira has traded in a tight range between N400 to N410.