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Go after ‘idle’ FX in private hands to strengthen naira, Dogara tells FG

A FORMER speaker of the Federal  House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has called on the Federal government of Nigeria to go after idle foreign exchange (FX) funds in private hands to strengthen the naira.

Dogara, the speaker of the House of Reps between 2015 to 2019, made the call on Wednesday, June 12, at a programme, ‘The Platform Nigeria,’ organised by Covenant Nation Church to mark the 2024 Democracy Day, Channels reported.

He said, “The USD is not going away anytime soon. The challenge before the government is how to unlock and make the USD locked up in private vaults in Nigeria begin to chase the naira. That to me, is the commonsensical solution. I believe we have enough dollars in this country that we can unlock to make our economy work and crash the FX rate.”

The naira has more than tumbled in value in the last year, losing its value from about N460/$1 in May 2023 to about N1,500/$1 currently, depreciating by over 200 per cent.

The ICIR reports that Nigeria has devalued its currency twice since last year and the trouble with the naira worsened in June 2023 when the country’s central bank floated its FX market.

According to Dogara, the government must act fast to restore Nigerians’ loss of hope in the value of the naira.

The former Federal House of Representative speaker also urged the Federal government to make it a policy to sell crude oil in naira and not in dollars.

He said, “To achieve this, the government must demand that all Nigerian exports, including crude oil exports, be paid for in naira, just as we don’t pay for any import into Nigeria from any country in naira. It’s not too much to demand that.”

He suggested that security operatives could sniff around to fish out individuals hoarding dollars in their private vaults.

“Government through credible intelligence generated by security agencies ought or should know those individuals in Nigeria who have taken advantage of the system and they have idle USD stashed in their private vaults.




     

     

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    “No one who has taken advantage of the system should have the liberty to store in excess what his or her country desperately needs in other to lift millions of its people out of multidimensional poverty,” Dogara said.

    He lamented that the naira stands devalued at present, asserting that the most productive nations are not necessarily with the strongest currencies, citing China as an example.

    He queried even why the CFA currency, used in eight West African countries and six Central African countries, seems immune from the volatility the naira faces.

    “If the current downward spiral of the naira is not arrested, I fear that we may get to a point where we will have to ditch the naira altogether. May God forbid that,” Dogara decried.

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