Sunday 25th September, 2016
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Buhari: Stop pressuring me to devalue Naira

Buhari: Stop pressuring me to devalue Naira

President Muhamma­du Buhari yesterday declared that Nigeri­ans who have an incurable taste for foreign commodi­ties should stop pressuring him to devalue the Naira, which is hovering at N400 to the dollar in the black market.
He spoke at Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt while con­tributing to a Presidential Panel Roundtable on In­vestment and Growth Op­portunities at the opening session of the Africa 2016: Business for Africa, Egypt and the World.
Reiterating his opposi­tion to the devaluation of the nation’s currency, the president stressed that those who have developed taste for foreign luxury goods should continue to pay for them rather than pressure government to devalue the Naira.
He explained that Ni­geria could not compete with developed countries which produce to compete among themselves and can afford to devalue their lo­cal currencies.
According to him, “de­veloped countries are competing among them­selves and when they de­value they compete better and manufacture and ex­port more.
“But we are not compet­ing and exporting but im­porting everything includ­ing toothpicks. So, why should we devalue our currency?
“We want to be more productive and self-suf­ficient in food and other basic things such as cloth­ing. For our government, we like to encourage local production and efficiency.”
Buhari said the prior­ity of his administration is to ensure national food security before export of food products. “The land is there and we need ma­chinery inputs, fertilizer and insecticides,” he said.
He explained that since Nigeria has been a mono-economy dependent on oil, and with a teeming unemployed youth popu­lation, the way out of the current economic slump in the global oil market is for his administration to focus on agriculture and solid minerals develop­ment.
The President also blamed the huge resources deployed towards fighting insurgency and interna­tional terrorism as one of the major factors militat­ing against Nigeria’s eco­nomic revival.
He however, expressed optimism that Nigeria would get out of its current economic downturn, and commended the support being received from the in­ternational community in the administration’s fight against terrorism as well as cooperation in tracing looted funds stashed away in foreign countries.
Responding to a ques­tion on his performance since he assumed office, the President said his ad­ministration had been quite focused on three fundamental issues of securing the country, re­viving the economy and stamping out corruption.
“The message on cor­ruption has been driven home vividly and Nigeri­ans are very acceptable to the message,” he said, add­ing that those accused of stealing public funds are cooperating by voluntarily providing useful informa­tion while investigations and prosecutions are on­going.
In his opening address at the forum, the Egyptian President, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, said Africa needed to concentrate on trans­forming into knowledge societies using innovation and research.
The Presidents of Ga­bon, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia also participated at the Round­table.

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