Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Kingsley Moghalu and Former minister of education, Oby Ezekwesili have expressed dissatisfaction over President Muhammadu Buhari directive to the CBN to stop providing Foreign Exchange (FX) for food importation.
President Buhari in a statement by his spokesperson, Malam Garba Shehu, explained that the directive to the apex bank was to improve the nation’s agricultural production and enable her to attain full food security.
Reacting to this development, a former Deputy Governor of the CBN, Moghalu has said the apex bank has lost its independence.
In a series of tweets posted after the President gave the directive, he said the issue isn’t whether or not CBN should allow access to Forex for food imports. According to him, it is about whether such an economic policy should be imposed by a political authority.
Moghalu made known that an economic policy likes the new directive is a major reason for the country’s poverty and instability. He also emphasised that a weak economy begets weak institutions.
He further stressed that Nigeria’s marketplace should be regulated and guided in a rational manner that creates a level playing field.
Moghalu’s tweets read, “Our economy will not be saved by Ad Hoc political decisions like this, handed down by the very institutions that should be shielded from the whim and caprice of politicians.
“Nigeria’s entire economy appears to have been sub-contracted to our Central Bank, including industrial and trade policy. In the process, the economy has fared poorly, and the Central Bank has lost its independence. This is sad!
“@NGRPresident should leave @cenbank alone to discharge its mandate independently within the ambit of the CBN Act and stop ‘directing’ it. @cbnbank should on its part assert its independence (assuming it actually believes it should be independent, but the Act says so, clearly!).”
One of Nigeria’s Foreign Exchange Windows is the Investors’ and Exporters’ windows (I&E FX Window), where investors transact foreign currencies for investing purposes. In this market, foreign currencies are usually pegged as the CBN is equally a participant.
By restricting foreign exchange for food, it means food importers will have to source for FOREX through the parallel market or other means.
Former minister of education, Oby Ezekwesili described President Muhammadu Buhari as a “completely out-of-touch leader” over his directive to the CBN.
Ezekwesili also lashed out on the president on Twitter, saying he is living in a bubble.
“A completely out-of-touch ‘leader’, he is cocooned away in the grandeur of @AsoRock where they serve him delicatessen and praise-sing to him: ‘ranka dede sir’, your agriculture policy is working wonderfully. All farmers in Nigeria are now billionaires & exporting to the US”, she said.
Meanwhile, the CBN said it will proceed with the president’s directive and that the implementation of the forex ban on food import would be in phases.
President Muhammodu Buhari had on Tuesday made directive when he hosted All Progressives Congress (APC) governors to Eid-el-Kabir lunch at his country home in Daura, Katsina state.
According to the president, the foreign reserve will be used strictly for diversification of the economy and not for encouraging more dependence on foreign food.
“Don’t give a cent to anybody to import food into the country”, he said.