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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Tinubu urges Nigerians to support the Naira by purchasing locally-made products

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President Bola Tinubu has urged Nigerians to patronise goods made in Nigeria to strengthen the local currency and boost the Nigerian economy.

The president made this known in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, in Abuja on Friday.

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Mr Ngelale noted that the president also assured Nigerians that his administration is committed to sustaining the efforts to strengthen the naira against the dollar across the forex markets.

“There is an intentionality that we must have on this issue that we want a strong currency, we want the spending power of our people to go up. We want every Naira and kobo we earn to be more valuable, not just here. But when we travel abroad, the way to achieve that is by doing just this,” he said.

Mr Tinubu also assured Nigerians that the appreciation of the Naira against the United States dollar in recent weeks would continue amid efforts to strengthen the local currency.

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“So the momentum of the Nigerian Naira and its strengthening. Nigerians should expect that to continue. Yes, we understand that there’s still going to be volatility to some extent, but we are seeing a lessening impact of that volatility and as we move forward with the interventions Mr President is making in the foreign exchange market and will continue to make, we will see increasing stability,” the president’s aide said.

Exchange rate crisis

Nigeria’s naira has in recent weeks traded at its lowest values in both the official and unofficial markets amidst an increased forex demand and an increase in the prices of goods and services across the country.

In the first quarter of this year, the local currency traded at an average of N1500 and above at the spot market, closing on a negative note on many occasions.

Similarly, amidst speculations and uncertainties about supply constraints in the forex markets, the naira extended its depreciation run at the parallel market recently, creating apprehension across the different sectors of the economy.

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At the unauthorised segment, the currency traded at a record low of N1,700 and above amid increased demand and market uncertainties.

This disturbing trend prompted the Nigerian government to undertake some major measures and reforms in an effort to safeguard the country’s foreign exchange market and combat speculative activities.

In recent weeks, the naira strengthened significantly across forex markets (authorised and unauthorised windows) following moves by the government to curb the depreciation of the local currency against the dollar.

The naira closed Friday on a positive note at N1,431.49 to a dollar as against N1,492.61/$1 recorded on Thursday, official market data published by FMDQ showed.

Unofficial market data gathered by this medium indicated that the naira traded at an average of N1,400/$1 and above in the black market segment this week, as against the N1,500 and above mark traded in the past weeks.

Ongoing efforts

On Friday, Mr Ngelale noted that the president is making efforts to ensure that the local currency is sustainably strengthened for the minimum wage negotiation outcome to be significant.

“If we do not get a firm grip on the value of our currency and it continues to be a volatile, devaluing asset, then whatever we do with the national minimum wage is going to essentially become a moot point, nullity. And so we are focused on ensuring that yes, we arrive at a new minimum wage that states can afford, and that will deal with all of the needs of Nigerian families across the country,” he explained.

The official said the administration also wants to ensure that what the minimum wage would be eventually pegged at would be something that will be sustainable and stand the test of time.

“And this is the point that His Excellency, the President wants to emphatically make today,” he added.

“When the new minimum wage comes into effect, it is going to be one that will be sustained over a long period of time by a stable Nigerian Naira based on the interventions being made under his leadership.”

He said the gradual currency appreciation is in the interest of every Nigerian.

“This is a time to deepen our efforts to dig in and to work harder, which is why His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has approved a series of interventions to ensure that we see a mass strengthening of the Nigerian Naira against all other global currencies,” he said.

SMEs

Mr Ngelale said the president is going to ensure that micro small and medium-scale enterprises in the country have what they need to get through this difficult period in the country.

Based on this, he said, the president has approved the presidential conditional grant scheme in which over 1 million Nigerian businesses will be empowered with conditional grants.

“This is money they will not have to pay back up to N50,000 per nano enterprise. With over 1 million Nano enterprises being selected and granted these funds within each and every local government area of the federation,” he said.

In addition to that, the official said over N150 billion is being disbursed from the Bank of Industry and SMEDAN at single-digit interest rates. The loans of up to N2 million are being given to hundreds of thousands of SMEs across all local government areas of the federation.

According to the president’s spokesman, Mr Tinubu is determined to ensure that his administration steers lending toward labour-intensive and developing sectors of the economy by ensuring that sectors like agriculture, manufacturing and construction get the bulk of lending moving forward.

“We want to ensure that those industries and sectors that are massively employing our people are those industries that are prioritised with respect to government intervention, which is why the president has approved over N75 billion to be dispersed to 75 large-scale manufacturers across all states of the federation,” Mr Ngelale said.

The president’s spokesperson urged Nigerians to collaborate with relevant agencies to ensure accountability in the public space.

“This is a Federal Republic of Nigeria versus malign actors issue and the activities of these actors negatively impact everybody seated in this room and everybody watching this, this broadcast and all Nigerians both at home and abroad,” he said.

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