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Naira already devalued – 28 pro associations tell Buhari

By The Citizen

The Naira is already devalued whether the President Muhammadu Buhari's led Federal Government accepts it officially or not, 28 professional associations registered in Nigeria have declared.

According to the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, since the naira already lost its official value against the United States dollar on the market arena, then the local currency has depreciated regardless of the President's recent stance on the matter.

The APBN comprises notable associations like the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Nigeria Institute of Management, Nigeria Society of Engineers, Nigeria Medical Association, Nigeria Bar Association, Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers, and a host of others.

Speaking to journalists in Abuja on Tuesday after an enlarged meeting with members who deliberated on issues affecting the Nigerian economy, the President, APBN, Mr. Foluso Fasoto, said it was high time the Federal Government did something strategic about the continuous fall of the naira as the situation was 'impacting negatively on businesses across the country.'

He dismissed claims by the Federal Government that the naira was not devalued, stressing that the market value of the local currency was enough reason to show that it had already been devalued.

Buhari had last week Saturday reiterated his opposition to the devaluation of the naira, on the grounds that Nigeria could not compete with developed countries which produce to compete among themselves and could afford to devalue their local currencies.

But Fasoto argued that whether the President likes it or not, the local currency had been devalued.

He said, 'Whether the government likes it or not, the naira is currently devalued. What the government is just trying to guard against is not to lose control over the valuation of naira. However, the fact right now is that the naira is already devalued but it has not gotten an official nod, whereas based on market realities our local currency has depreciated.

'Therefore, whether we like it or not the naira has gotten the market nod in terms of its devaluation. How can you say it has not been devalued when majority of forex seekers pay over N345 for a dollar? And if it continues in this trend, it may collapse to N1, 000 to a dollar whether the government accepts to officially devalue it or not.'

On ways to help curb the further fall of the local currency, the professional bodies urged Nigerians to patronise Nigerian products.

Fasoto said, 'We must increase our productivity and Nigerians must be interested in buying Nigerian made goods if we must check this collapse of the naira. When this is achieved, the quality of our products will be enhanced.

'Also, the Nigerian government should provide enabling environment for the manufacturers and to emerging businesses so that they can ensure that Nigeria becomes a very productive country. Therefore there's no point arguing it for the naira is already devalued.

'The only thing that seem to counter and it is just that the government has not said it officially. But on the market arena, our local currency is already devalued.'