The Central Bank of Nigeria is just wasting its precious time intervening to save the value of the Naira against the United States’ dollar and other major world currencies. Nigeria is operating a failed subsistence consumption-oriented economy as opposed to 21st century digital production-based economy which serious countries with functional dynamics and state-of-the-art technological know-how operate.
How then can the Central Bank’s intervention save the Naira without more? Currency value is not determined mechanically by mere fire brigade or whimsical physical intervention by regulatory authorities, but by the amount and value of goods and services produced in the country in a particular period of time. That’s why the problem cannot be solved by the Central Bank of a country just trying to manipulate the value of the currency or by just printing more of the local currency to increase its value by increasing its volume or quantity. That’s a laughable pedestrian thinking and approach which begs the question. The problem and its solution are far deeper than that. In this country, the real solution lies in change, real change, (not cosmetic change for which Nigeria is reputed) that is to say, a total overhaul of the Central Bank, including total dislocation and recalibration of the management personnel in charge at the Bank. To start with, the Central Bank Governor has been there for too long without commensurate positive results expected from such a reputed management expert and guru recruited many years ago from the Zenith Bank Plc where he featured as the Managing Director of that Bank. I think we need a new hand with new energy and new, more productive mindset and methods to try something different in order to rescue the apex Bank from its current sorry state vis-a-vis the miserable and freefalling value of the Naira. As the late Nobel Prize laureate, Professor Albert Einstein once said, the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result! That is not going to happen! That is madness in itself because 1+1 will always be 2 and NOT 3 or 4! The members of the current Board of the Central Bank Administration are truly very tired and out of any dynamic or out of the box ideas that can leapfrog the comatose financial sector of this country out of its misery and alarming downward spiral. The Naira was in such a mess a few weeks ago when the Governor of the Bank (of all persons!) still found time to buy a ₦100 million “Expression of Interest Form” to contest the Presidency of the country under the banner of the APC. Of course, he was quickly dislodged and outmanuevered and got nowhere; trust professional politicians of this country and what they are capable of doing to any such impetuous and impudent intruder. Now, the ₦100m is gone and yet the Naira value has got worst, all thanks to the Governor’s incompetence and unprecedented political escapades and distraction and misadventure. In a sane country, no Government can still retain his services except that the Central Bank has of recent doubled as ATM for the Federal Government in its borrowing spree and money printing enterprise. Beyond that, the Government has to make serious efforts to diversify Nigeria’s sources of income and not solely depend on crude oil revenues which are dwindling at a fast rate. The unlimited borrowing culture cannot stop until the Federal Government retools its efforts towards a production-based economy away from its current practice of depending on crude oil sales and external borrowing and more and more borrowing to finance its Annual Budget and even pay the monthly salaries of Federal Government workers! The dynamic acumen of our experts and technocrats and economic managers at the Federal level should be able to turn our economic situation around, a situation that can be likened to a serious hemorrhage from an arterial wound which has refused to heal. Nigeria is hemorrhaging daily, especially with all the thievery and grand larceny and corruption at various levels added to the now notorious oil theft running into billions of US dollars (big business for some in Government), which has nearly crippled our economy and further impoverished the masses of our people. If we continue at the current rate, there may be no money to import anything before this Federal Government leaves office and worst of all, the Naira value might most likely hit ₦1,000 to $1 mark.
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Dr. G. A. Onuoha writes from Aba