Devaluation of the Naira is not an appropriate option in the current economic realities in the country and would offer no solutions as far as the Buhari administration is concerned, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said yesterday.
Speaking when he received ambassadors from Italy and Canada, among other callers, at the Villa in Abuja, he said: “I don’t agree on devaluation and it is not that I am doctrinaire about it. In the first place, it is not a solution-we are not exporting significantly. And the way things are, devaluation will not help the local economy.”
Accordingly to him, what is needed now “is to start spending more on the economy and then things will ease up a bit.”
He revealed federal government’s plans to set-up a $25 billion Infrastructural Fund which would be sourced from local and international sources, including through Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund and also the pension fund, among others.
He said the $25 billion Infrastructural Fund “is the present administration’s approach to speeding up the country’s infrastructural development.”
He said the current foreign exchange restriction is a temporary measure to ensure that “we don’t deplete our foreign exchange substantially at a time when the prices of oil in the international market are dropping.”
He said the restriction was also to bring some stability to the country’s foreign reserves without which Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) might be affected.
He said the federal government would work with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure that legitimate businesses are not badly impacted by the current foreign exchange restrictions, especially those that had previous contracts and loan commitments.
Osinbajo received the Italian Ambassador in Nigeria, Mr. Fulvio Rustico, and the Canadian High Commissioner in Nigeria Mr. Perry John Calderwood, and expressed the appreciation of the federal government to the envoys on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Also, a delegation of top executives from Citigroup led by Mr. Jim Cowles had earlier paid a courtesy call on the vice-president.