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Naira Speculators Bought Dollar For N2,000, Projected Naira Crash At N5,000 – PRESIDENCY

Vice-President Kashim Shettima has revealed that some currency speculators had foreseen a dire future for the Naira, projecting its crash at an alarming rate of N5,000 to the dollar. 

Speaking at a roundtable organized by the 21st Century Chronicle, Vice-President Shettima addressed the challenges facing the nation, emphasizing the difficult terrain of political leadership in Nigeria at present.

 He underscored President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to confronting these challenges head-on, without resorting to blaming his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, for the prevailing economic woes.

Acknowledging the gravity of the situation, Shettima highlighted the administration’s decision to tackle the longstanding issue of fuel subsidy removal, which had burdened the nation for decades. 

He elaborated on the unsustainable debt service to revenue ratio, emphasizing the urgent need for economic reforms to avert a looming crisis.

One of the pivotal reforms undertaken by the Tinubu administration was the abolition of the subsidy regime, despite its bitter implications. 

Shettima emphasized the necessity of this move, citing its detrimental effects on critical sectors and its association with corruption.

Addressing criticisms of the administration’s economic policies, Shettima dismissed comparisons to Argentina, emphasizing the unique challenges and strategies employed by Nigeria.

 He emphasized the importance of governance tailored to the nation’s specific context, rather than blindly following external models.

Moreover, Shettima highlighted the proactive measures taken by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the National Security Adviser (NSA) to counter influential currency manipulators and stabilize the Naira. 

These interventions proved instrumental in thwarting the projections of Naira devaluation, as speculators anticipated a drastic surge in the dollar-to-Naira exchange rate.

 “The president chose the option that will save the lives of the people instead of the ones that will lead to the prolonged economic death. We will not resort to put the blame on previous administration as leadership is about courage, continuity.

“Before we took charge, the biggest elephant in the room was about fuel subsidy removal. It was an albatross round the neck of the nation for the past 20 to 30 years. We understood why our predecessor decided to remove subsidy because there was no sufficient budget for it in the fiscal year.

“A year before we took office, Nigeria’s debt service to revenue ratio had grown to 111.18 percent. It was an economic death sentence. To be plain to us, our debt service was that if you earn N100,000, you are forced to borrow an additional N11,800 to pay the debtor. How do we intend to survive this? It will not be long before we become a pariah.

“We have to jettison the subsidy regime, it was a bitter pill to swallow but we had to do it.”

On the economic reforms it is carrying out, he said: “A presidential candidate in the last election, eager to mock our economic trajectory, once pointed Argentina as a model to Nigeria and became an overnight market specialist. He was convinced that we had missed our way and should have adopted the ways of our friends in South America.

“Barely two weeks, we watched as Argentina’s inflation rate surged. We respect what the president is doing there but governance is not photocopying.

“Today, I stand proud to say that our intervention has translated into desirable goals. Naira speculators were projecting that the Naira will go as far as N5,000 to the dollar. Some bought the dollar at the rate of N2,000 from banks.”

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