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PDP calls for CBN governor’s resignation, prosecution as naira continues free-fall

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NIGERIA’S Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele has been asked to resign immediately as the free-fall of the Nigerian currency continues without any end in sight.

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on September 23 demanded the immediate resignation of Emefiele for overseeing what it described as colossal failures of monetary and fiscal policies recorded under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration.

PDP National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan who announced the demand in Abuja also said Emefiele should hand himself over for investigation and prosecution by relevant anti-graft agencies.

The PDP observed that the naira was fast approaching N600 to a dollar whereas the exchange rate as of 2014 when Emefiele took charge of the apex bank was N164 to a dollar.

Ologbondiyan said Emefiele’s failure at the CBN had brought the Nigerian economy to its knees.

“Today, in the hands of Emefiele and the APC, the naira has tumbled to near N600 to a dollar, putting the nation’s economy on its knees.

“Painfully, under the leadership of Emefiele, the CBN has failed in its core mandate of managing the economy and took a dive into propaganda, with claims that do not reflect the harsh economic reality on the ground,” the PDP spokesman said.

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In accusing Emefiele of propaganda, the PDP was apparently referring to attempts by the CBN to blame an online foreign exchange rate publication platform AbokiFX for the crash of the naira.

At a Monetary Policy Committee meeting on September 17, Emefiele gave reasons for the planned shutdown of AbokiFX, accusing the website of exchange rate breaches.

Emefiele said the owner of the website Oniwinde Adedotun would be made to face the full wrath of the law for economic sabotage.

According to him, the CBN had been investigating AbokiFX for about three years and, in the process, wrote a memo to banks asking for information about the website.

The CBN governor said the proprietor of AbokiFX was conducting an illegal activity that was killing the Nigerian economy.

But the PDP said Emefiele’s resort to propaganda amounted to serious economic sabotage for which he should be prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Ologbondiyan stressed that sanctions for the offence are spelt out under Nigerian laws.

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The naira has been on a downward slope in the parallel market for some time, trading at N570/$ on September 17.

A former Deputy Governor of the CBN, Kingsley Muoghalu, had called on the apex bank to stop subsidising import and float the naira actually to determine its market value.

“The government cannot continue to fix the price of the naira, which is what the Central Bank is doing. If you float the naira, you have to stop subsidising imports. Our country is structured in such a way that it is subsidising the country’s imports. This breeds arbitrage,” Moghalu said.

The CBN has been struggling to fix the demand side of the FX market but has been weak in developing the supply side of the FX market.

Industry analysts say Nigeria’s over-reliance on oil to boost foreign reserves and the FX market exposes it to more vulnerability.

An economist at the Centre for Study on African Economies (CSEA), Mma Ekereuche, had told The ICIR that the naira was vulnerable because Nigeria was not generating enough dollars.

Ekereuche observed that the oil market’s volatility was affecting the strength of the naira as the Nigerian economy does not have enough buffer.

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She advised that government must find a way to explore the agribusiness and the manufacturing sectors in African Continental Free Trade to improve dollar access to the economy while strengthening the naira.

As part of the Monetary Policy Committee meeting resolutions on September 17, the CBN had announced the retention of the Monetary Policy Rate at 11.5 per cent.

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