Naira redesign Ill-timed, will worsen economy – Kachikwu

The presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress, Dumebi Kachikwu, on Monday, faulted the Naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria approved by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

Kachikwu said in Abuja that the policy would further worsen the economy through the closure of small-scale industries and render millions of workers jobless.

He lamented that the redesign of the Naira coupled with insecurity and skyrocketing inflation has continued to throw millions of Nigerians into the poverty bracket.

Kachikwu said, “It has been an eventful past one week. The security advisory by some of the western nations and the departure of embassy officials and their families has led to panic amongst Nigerians.

“Even though President Buhari has sought to assure Nigerians that all is well, one begins to wonder what is really going on.

“The President failed to respond to rumours that some convicted terrorists were released to secure the freedom of the remaining Kaduna train captives.

“Some now accuse his government of undermining the efforts of our men and women in the field by the indiscriminate release of those who have sworn to destroy our way of life. Only the President can confirm if this is true or not.

“Nigerians now live in fear of the unknown as they wonder if they could be in the right place at the wrong time.

“Our highways have gotten worse as bandits now take on and kill convoys with several policemen.

“If those with a retinue of police aides are being attacked and, in some cases killed, then who is safe in Buhari’s Nigeria?

“As if this is not bad enough, the President continues to destroy the Nigerian economy with wrong and ill-timed policies that mostly benefit a few.

“Millions are daily thrown into the poverty bracket. Our middle class has been wiped out as the dollar today exchanges for N800 and above.

“Diesel which powers most businesses and industries retails for around N900. A bag of local rice sells for N50,000 in some parts of Nigeria.

“A bag of Dangote cement retails for N4100. Mind you cement is the building block for the construction industry and that same construction industry is a key driver of any economy.

“One begins to wonder if this government is deliberately trying to set a record of creating the greatest number of poor people in the shortest period possible.

“How do you explain the timing of the redesign of the naira? The sensible thing to do is weigh the pros and cons before taking such a decision which has further weakened the naira.

“How many Nigerians actually store money in their homes as is being speculated? Do we further destroy the naira because of a few Nigerians?

“Why can’t our security agencies up their game, identify those who have been speculated to store billions in their homes, and then use legal means to recover the money?

“By the way who says all money stored at home is ill-gotten wealth? There are those who simply don’t trust banks or don’t want to incur extortionist bank charges imposed by some banks.

“Our economy is in tatters while the managers of our economy fight over who informed who or who got Presidential approval.

“As the naira continues to plunge, more businesses will collapse this week. Thousands will be thrown into the employment market daily.

“This is our reality. We can’t continue to keep quiet while our President continues to pauperise us.”

The ADC presidential candidate called on Buhari to convene an emergency economic summit to find solutions to the present economic challenges.

He said, “We all need to get involved in this conversation. It is meaningless to keep on talking about the 2023 general elections when our present realities suggest that we might not have a nation by that time.

“We can’t continue acting like we don’t know tens of millions of Nigerians are unemployed and impoverished.

“Their plight gets worse as our economy gets worse. When is the breaking point? The President can’t keep on saying he is fighting inflation yet in an import-dependent economy small businesses are paying up to N5 million to clear a 20ft container and up to N9 million for a 40ft container.

“Who is advising our President? Inflation begins from your ports. This government is killing small businesses.

“If the President is serious about strengthening the Naira, he should find out how many new export-oriented businesses Nigerian banks funded in the last year.

“He should find out how many new businesses Nigerian banks funded in the last 10 months. We can’t keep on deceiving ourselves.”

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