Emeka Anyaoku, former secretary-general of the commonwealth, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari not to devalue the naira.
The elder statesman however urged the president to set up an economic team to proffer solutions to the nation’s economic problems.
Speaking at the celebration of Ondo state’s 40th anniversary in Akure, Anyaoku said devaluation of the naira would lead to inflation, and further affect the masses.
“There is an incontrovertible fact, that with the present level of the country’s dependence on imported crude, which results in a monthly import bill that is four times the value of our main export, which is traded in dollars, official devaluation of the naira would inevitably produce a further rise in inflation to the detriment of all of us,” he said.
“In such circumstances, devaluation would lead to an unacceptable drain on our country’s external reserves, which is already worryingly depleted.
“In my view, the president should – as a matter of urgency – convene a meeting of carefully-chosen economic experts in the country to discuss this item and provide means on how to deal with the country’s economic vices”.
Buhari also holds Anyaoku’s view, as he has insisted that the naira would not be devalued because he believes devaluation would affect the poor.
But Muhammad Sanusi II, emir of Kano and former CBN governor, is opposed to both Anyaoku and Buhari, saying the current foreign exchange regime is already affecting the poor.
Sanusi had earlier said the current forex policy is taking “so much money away from states and local governments, because this is money that from oil proceeds, from PPT, royalties, that should go to education and healthcare for the poor”.
“While the president is looking at the pain inflicted on the poor, by high prices of import, he also needs to look at the pain inflicted on them by taking away revenue that could go into education and healthcare.”
Also present at the event were Ben Bruce and Shehu Sani, senators of the federal republic.