Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he will not devalue the currency, the naira.
Speaking on the state of the economy during an interactive session with the Nigerian community in the United Kingdom on the sidelines of the Supporting Syria Conference in London, Buhari also said he discovered that some CBN directors used BDCs that they owned to shortchange the government.
His government is pursuing a policy of holding its price at around 200 naira to the US dollar, but its value has plunged on the unofficial market following the recent fall in the oil price.
Mr Buhari said he is not convinced to “agree to the murder of the naira”.
Some economists believe he should agree to devalue the currency, because they argue it is inefficient and unsustainable to keep it at its present rate for long.
President Muhammadu Buhari revealed that his government decided to stop the sale of foreign exchange to bureau de change (BDC) operators because of fraudulent acts perpetrated by some directors of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“We found out that some directors of CBN owned bureau de change and when foreign exchange comes, they take it to their bureau de change and give government the change,” he said.
“We had to stop the federal government giving bureau the change. I am explaining this to give a tip of the ice berg of the problem we inherited. We are getting so hard because we have no other [option] than to make everybody accountable.”
He said his administration had been able to plug leakages and save N2. 2 trillion through the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
Buhari said although the TSA was the initiative of the Goodluck Jonathan administration, the immediate past government did not make use of it.
“When we discovered that we were already in trouble, we tried to enforce the TSA. This government did not initiate it, it was the previous government, but it was so unpopular to the previous government,” he said.
“For its own reasons, it couldn’t impose it, but when we came and we found out that we were broke, we saw that this as the way to do it.
“We discovered that the NNPC had more than 45 accounts, the ministry of defence and the military had more than 70 accounts; tell me which of the accounts to trace every year.
“So we enforced TSA, we said there must be TSA, and let me tell you by the end of December coming to January this year, last month we mopped up more than N2.2 trillion.”