The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has come under attack for its foreign exchange policy, but would not change the policy nor bow to these “self-serving” interests.
In a statement by Isaac Okorafor, the bank’s spokesman, the CBN said it “has observed with great concern the continued and unwarranted attack on its policies by a group of Nigerians, whose real interests, findings have shown, are anything near altruistic but rather self-serving and unpatriotic”.
“While we respect the rights of every Nigerian or stakeholder to their respective views, we find it curious that certain interests have remained persistent in their move to misinform the larger public, with the intention of discrediting genuine efforts at managing the economy, thereby creating public distrust and panic within the financial system.
“Indeed, self-centered individuals, who have failed to assail our patriotic position, have resorted to the sponsorship of serial propaganda to misinform and mislead the public on the objectives of our policies.”
CBN said intelligence reports have revealed that the involvement of “some unpatriotic elements funding the push to have the CBN and the federal government reverse its forex policy, which is aimed at conserving foreign exchange, stimulating agriculture and manufacturing and also promoting exports”.
“The present economic challenges that we face have been worsened by our past practice of frittering away huge earnings made from oil sales, over the years.
“As we have explained several times, our decisions on forex management are prompted by the challenge posed by the level of depletion of the country’s reserves, arising from issues such as a drastic reduction in oil earnings, speculative attacks and round tripping.
“It is pertinent to note that pressures on the country’s foreign reserves have persisted due to a huge fall in the monthly foreign earnings, which fell from over US $3.2 billion sometime in 2013 to below $500 million per month sometime in 2016, when the demand for the US dollar, particularly by importers, continued to rise considerably.”
The CBN said despite obvious challenges, it has continued to ensure that there is liquidity and transparency in the forex market, while keeping inflation at bay, and promoting productivity in critical sections of the economy.
The apex bank also said it has remained committed to providing “access to credit to farmers and small scale entrepreneurs at single digit rates, to create wealth”.
“Protect the interest of Bank customers in Nigeria; and above all ensure that the masses of our country’s low income earners are protected from the vagaries of high naira depreciation”.