Godwin Emefiele, governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has said that there is no magic policy that can save the naira in the near term, adducing the nation’s penchant and appetite for foreign goods and services as the chief reason for the downward spiral of the value of the currency.
In an article, the CBN governor said that Nigeria does not have much of an economy since it hardly produces anything for both local consumption and export.
“It is either I do not understand economics and how exchange rates work or a vast majority of us Nigerians still don’t get how we have wrecked our country with our own curious choices.
“Just this morning, I was listening to the radio and the lady on air went on and on about how she thought CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, was incompetent and should be sacked because the naira was now exchanging at N309 or so to the USD,” he wrote.
Emefiele pointed out that the view of the on air personality reflects pretty much the general sentiments expressed by many people, and that it amazes him that there are Nigerians who actually think there is some magic policy that can make the naira strong in the near term.
“If my economics and my understanding of the way the world works are right, then that is as far from the truth as Jesus Christ is black,” he affirmed.
He continued: “The simple fact of the matter is that apart from oil that accounts for over 90% of our revenues, we really don’t have much of an economy. We hardly produce anything; we import even toothpicks, so exactly what policy is going to be implemented that will turn Nigeria into a top exporting economy in the near term?
“Where are our Apples, IBMs, Disneys, GMs, General Electric, Coca Colas, Empire State Buildings, Statues of Liberties, Lockheeds, Citibanks, JP Morgans, ExxonMobils, NBAs, Super Bowls etc?”
Emefiele recollected the good old days when Nigeria had a truly strong economy and the naira was one to the dollar – even exchanged for higher than the USD, adding sadly that the old Nigeria was laid by the British, and current one fueled by what he referred to as the damaging indigenisation decree of the 70s, has been the creation of us Nigerians.
“Back then we had a booming economy. We were either the top, or among the top exporters, of timbre, cocoa, groundnuts, rubber, palm oil, etc, in the world. Nigerians not only holidayed at home in their villages, at Yankari Games Reserve, at Obudu Cattle Ranch, at Oguta Lake, at Ikogosi Springs, at Gurara Falls, at Mambilla Platueau, etc, we attracted international tourists who brought in loads of foreign exchange. Even Nigerian schools were foreign exchange earners because they attracted foreign students.”
He noted that the country in years past had different car assembly plants – Peugeot, Volkswagen, ANAMCO etc. that Nigerian government officials only bought vehicles assembled in Nigeria for official cars.
He equally recollected that the nation had a thriving sports industry.
“We were not Man United or Chelsea fans; we were Rangers or IICC fans. We had the Nduka Odizors, people made money from sports. We also had companies like Lennards and Bata producing school shoes in their thousands, we had the thriving Nigerian Airways and the Aviation School in the north that produced some of the best pilots in the world.
“In those days if you were brilliant you were respected much more than the crass money-miss-road contractors of today. Most of the ‘Aje Butters’ I knew had fathers who were university dons. Back then it meant something to ‘know book’. Our textile industry was alive and well. Just recently I watched a news report on the textile industry in Nigeria on CCTV News. Though the main focus was on the comatose status of the industry, I was stunned by the gigantic Kaduna Textile Mill built in 1957. I could go on and on,” he lamented.
He said we all have destroyed everything, as Nigerian football no longer appealed to us to the extent that we have to fly across thousands of miles to watch foreign clubs dubbed “our” clubs play and collectively burn billions of naira for clubs that give us nothing back save simple pleasures for which we are ready to destroy the future of our children.
The CBN governor said what we are experiencing today is payback time.
“Even with our ‘ta-she-re’ money we all want to wear designer clothes and carry designer bags, Armani, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton etc. We all want to drive jeeps with American specs, our children must now school overseas and acquire the necessary accents to come back home and bamboozle their ‘bush and crass’ contemporaries that they left behind. Who holidays in Nigeria anymore, is there Disneyland here? No one buys made-in-Nigeria school bags for their children, after all no Superman or Incredible Hulk or Cinderella on them.”
Emefiele finally posited that we always keep letting corrupt leaders who have looted the nation’s commonwealth and shipped all the monies overseas get away because to attack them does not fit our political narrative.
“Let us continue with the fine life, let us all continue to work for ‘Oyinbo’. But don’t forget that there is payback time and Emefiele is not your problem,” he noted.