News, Seat of Power

Why Osinbajo advocates Forex policy that curbs arbitrage & corruption, offering Nigerians cheaper dollars

Our attention has been drawn to statements and reports in the media mischaracterising as a call for devaluation, the view of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, that the Naira exchange rate was being kept artificially low.

Prof. Osinbajo is not calling for the devaluation of the Naira. He has, at all times, argued against a willy-nilly devaluation of the Naira.

For context, the Vice President’s point was that currently the Naira exchange rate benefits only those who are able to obtain the dollar at N410, some of who simply turn round and sell to the parallel market at N570. It is stopping this huge arbitrage of over N160 per dollar that the Vice President was talking about. Such a massive difference discourages doing proper business, when selling the dollar can bring in about 40% profit!

This was why the Vice President called for measures that would increase the supply of foreign exchange in the market, rather than simply managing demand, which opens up irresistible opportunities for arbitrage and corruption.

It is a well-known fact that foreign investors and exporters have been complaining that they could not bring foreign exchange in at N410, and then have to purchase foreign exchange in the parallel market at N570 to meet their various needs on account of unavailability of foreign exchange. Only a more market reflective exchange rate would ameliorate this. With an increase in the supply of dollars, the rates will drop and the value of the Naira will improve.

The real issue confronting the economy on this matter is how to improve the supply of foreign exchange, but this will not happen if we do not allow mechanisms like the Importers and Exporters window to work. If we allow this market mechanism to work as intended, we will find that the Naira will appreciate against the dollar as we restore confidence in the system.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President

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