The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has given explanations why it would not succumb to pressure to further devalue or float the Naira.
CBN Acting Director, Public Communications, Mr. Isaac Okorafor gave the explanations in Umuahia, Abia State during a sensitization forum on CBN intervention programmes for young entrepreneurs, farmers, traders, cooperative societies,and young school leavers.
He said CBN would not devalue the Naira as that would escalate inflation and worsen the economic situation in the country.
Okorafor said CBN had the constitutional mandate to regulate the currency and prevent any economic situation that would expose Nigerians to hardship.
According to him, those clamouring for the Naira to be devalued are not patriotic but only after their interests and that of their foreign partners.
He insisted that the CBN would continue to stabilise the Naira and resist any policy that would make it go beyond the current exchange rate of less than N400 per US Dollar.
“We can’t float the Naira because it will escalate inflation. We can’t kill our people by pleasing foreigners. CBN has the responsibility to protect our people economically and we won’t introduce a policy that will inflict hardship on the people.”
He called on Nigerians to patronise locally- made products and stop their penchant for foreign goods as a quick way to stimulate the economy and exit the current economic recession.
“We must eat what we produce and produce what we eat”, he said, regretting that a lot of Nigerians still prefer imported products to their local counterparts, an attitude he said was the reason the Nigeria economy had continued to nose- dive.
He however, commended the efforts of some Nigerians and state governments who had keyed into the various CBN interventions especially in the sectors of agriculture and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Okorafor specifically applauded rice farmers in Kebbi State who he said had justified CBN’s agric intervention as the state is now the highest rice producer in Nigeria.
“Today in Kebbi State we have achieved urban – rural migration because people now go back to the villages to cultivate rice. Rice farmers who keyed into our programme have all become millionaires. They got greater harvests more than anticipated because we provided them with improved seedlings”.
He therefore, enjoined farmers, entrepreneurs and owners of SMEs to take advantage of the various CBN interventions in different sectors and better their living conditions and also create more jobs.
Okorafor noted that CBN chose to intervene in real sectors such as agriculture, and SMEs because of their quick effect in stimulating the economy.
Okorafor expressed satisfaction over the enthusiasm of Abia entrepreneurs especially Aba artisans to key into the CBN programmes, saying that the apex bank is willing to support the ingenuity of Abia artisans.
He equally commended the Abia State Government for paying its counterpart fund in one of the intervention schemes, hinting that Abia has accessed over N2 billion in CBN programmes.
In her remarks, CBN Branch Manager in Abia State, Mrs. Veronica Akpan said over 10,000 farmers in the state had accessed the CBN agric credit scheme, adding that over N6.8 billion loan had been given out by banks in Abia to their customers based on various CBN packages.