THE naira may finally be onto a victory dance as it regains a lot of its value at the black market against major international currencies like the dollar, pounds and euro.
Though a far cry from its N150 to the dollar during Gen. Sani Abacha’s regime (1993-1997), it is now closer to the official price of N196-199 to the dollar.
In the last days of the previous week, the naira moved from N220 to N211, and finally settled at N205 to the dollar. Pounds and euro also lost some points against the naira, nestling at N330 to a pound, and N230 to the euro.
This week, the story appears to be similar as the naira maintains its stroke of luck and exchanged on Monday, August 24, 2015, for N205. The pound also stood at N321 and euro traded at N229 at the black market.
Fears that Nigeria’s currency has lost its colour and value are giving way to renewed hope that it can be saved from speculators, forex traders, money launderers and those who benefit from proceeds of crime. Their battle against policies of the Central Bank of Nigeria, especially the one de-listing about 41 imported items from wheel barrow to rice, and more from accessing foreign exchange since we can produce them locally, and the other rejecting deposits into domiciliary accounts appear to be failing. Contrary to expectations, especially of those who have labeled CBN policies voodoo and unorthodox, the blockages may be transforming the polity, and sending a clear message that our nation is no longer a safe haven for proceeds of crime.
The last few months have been very trying, especially for officials of CBN led by Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele. Having devalued the naira, its free fall against international currencies was a major blow that threatens his job.
And his last attempt at increasing the value of the naira, criticized by many, may be working after all. But pessimists believe that the policies aimed at discouraging speculation will have no long term effects. That since we are a nation of consumers, importing almost everything, in no time the naira will face a battle that it cannot win. And since oil is fast losing value, falling from over $100 per barrel to less than $45 last week, the currency is doomed.
With no huge exports to shore up our earnings, the only way to go is down.
Optimists, however, argue that if all the banned items (the 41 prevented from accessing forex) can be produced optimally here, with other goods and services, the naira will surely win. As the pressure to import essentials are less, and pursuit of forex to finance imports are minimal, the naira can breathe easily.
Encouraging Nigerians to patronize made at home goods, they state that it is only a matter of time that our foreign earnings will multiply.