By Olanrewaju Akojede
A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), GBS-Alliance for Africa Economic Development Initiative, (GBS-AAEDI), Florida, USA, on Tuesday called on Nigerians to support President Bola Tinubu in his economic recovery programmes.
The group’s Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Mr Bola Shonekan, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos while presenting the signpost to Nigeria’s economic development project, initiated by the NGO.
According to Shonekan, the new administration will need series of ideas to navigate through the economic woes which required patience and support.
“I have no doubt about President Tinubu because he has started on a good note by raising a formidable economic team.
“One of the fantastic persons appointed by President Tinubu is Mr Olayemi Cardoso, a seasoned banker, as the Head of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); this shows that Tinubu means business”.
Shonekan listed other members of the Economic Team to include the Minister of Finance, Mr Wale Edun, and the man in charge of harmonisation of tax, Mr Taiwo Oyedele, saying “these are set of people that mean business in pursuit of economic recovery.
“It is true that President Tinubu is not a magician, and that is the more reason we need to give him our full support, because things are not looking good for now,” he said.
Shonekan also said that Nigeria’s economy had been managed by previous administrations, especially with the adoption of Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), but noted that there was more to be done.
“What we need now is a strong economic policy that will take us away from the shackles of the policies that came with SAP which has made our currency to face continuous devaluation.
“We cannot continue to devalue our Naira and think the economy will be bouyant; we need a strong currency for a strong economy.
“Another issue is about our borrowing policy: we need to put a plug to it. Nigeria might supposedly be a credit worthy country, yet if we place ourselves under the heavy yoke of debt, we won’t have room to attend to necessary things,” he added.
He stressed the need for consideration of other variables, including devaluation of the currency, when borrowing.
However, the subsidy removal is one of the most economic policies of the recent times,” he said.
Earlier, Shonekan alluded that Nigeria, as giant of Africa, would require a stronger currency for prosperous economy.
He equally posited that the free fall of the Nigerian currency could be a major setback to the economic development of the country.
“The unstable and fluctuating value of the Nigerian currency bears significant burden and a major setback that has negatively affected the nation’s ailing economy.
“The last quarter of 2022 till-date can attest to this effect. But, the solution is more paramount than nursing the damages it has caused the nation as a whole.
Shonekan traced the country’s economic strangulation to the 1986 adoption of International Monetary Fund-imposed Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) without referendum by the then Armed Forces Ruling Council, AFRC, of the Babangida-led military regime.
He advanced the necessity to re-visit the IMF conditions by asking the National Assembly to re-evaluate the policy for possible reversal of the IMF to the value of the exchange rate of the 1980s.
Shonekan added that the Naira which was then $1.38 to N1 could be brought back the new currency value if Nigeria was to fully tap into her abundant God-given natural resources.
Shonekan further posited that African countries could have their own currency backed by cowrie.
“The relief of Cowrie currency, he noted “will bring unity and tranquility to Africa under one common and stable currency that assures sustainability and self-sufficiency to the Region.
“A global recognition, respect and equitable trade practices will replace the practices of the past centuries that Africa has experienced.
“This laudable plan and future plans to be implemented will refuse to accept any foreign currency for purchases.
“This will bolster a new and stronger economic relationship with the US Government and her US Federal Reserve Banks,” he said.
Shonekan added that if African countries could unite for the adoption of single monetary policy, the plan would automatically upgrade the African Cowrie to a convertible global currency status. (NAN)
Edited by Olawunmi Ashafa