When Buhari came into power, the Naira exchanged to the dollar at a rate of 225 Naira to 1USD. This rate at the time was felt as crushing and extreme. Enter Buhari who maintained the rather notorious and pro-elite controversial Central bank governor Emefiele hired by predecessor Goodluck Jonathan, the Naira rapidly fell freely to approach 500/USD.
By the end of 2016, despite a rise in Nigeria’s foreign reserves, Buhari with Emefiele were determined on a course to crash the Naira without restraint. The Pulse wrote in January of 2017:
“The value of the naira plunged to 500 naira to one dollar yesterday, despite a boost in Nigerias foreign reserves, which increased by 450 million dollars over the last one week.”
Exit Buhari, Enter Osinbajo With Some Relief
Then Buhari went on one of his medical tours and Osinbajo took hold of the reigns of power and Nigeria saw some reasonability. Under Osinbajo the new policy was for the central bank to inject necessary funds to stabilize the Naira at around 370/USD. This stabilization was maintained and the devalued rate held for a while till Buhari returned.
Buhari Returns to Murder the Naira
While the devaluation to 360/370 was hurtful for Nigeria’s fragile economic growth and small businesses dependent on materials from abroad, the nation struggled at that rate. But fortunately or unfortunately Buhari returned and so did the artificial value loss. With Buhari back, Emefiele once again indulged himself in his desires to crush small businesses with a valueless Naira while providing unfair advantage to the elite who are able to get foreign currency at special low rates and even lower via oil swap exchanges.
The Naira continued its perilous free-fall journey to the bottom. And Buhari’s policies under his CBN governor are not tied to the sale of oil or gains in foreign reserves. Today, despite rising global oil prices, the Naira is practically worthless, exchanging to the dollar at over 500. Small businesses continue to fold, hardship and poverty expands across the nation with the most poor population in the world and the few super wealthy continue to get access to foreign currency at secret negotiable rates that according to the press can be as low as one Naira per dollar depending on the elite’s cronyism with the CBN governor.
Hope is lost, reprieve is unlikely under General Buhari’s rather reckless and often described as fanatically irrational leadership. A sheet of tissue paper today is more precious than a Naira.
Dr. Perry Issa Brimah, [email protected] [Every Nigerian Do Something]