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Tinubu’s meeting with govs: Atiku muddled things up – Presidency

The Presidency said former vice president Atiku Abubakar muddled up things in an attempt to rubbish the foreign exchange policy of the Tinubu administration as it was not correct to say that the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s last meeting with state governors was about foreign exchange.

 

In a response to Atiku’s statement issued on Sunday, the Special Adviser to the president on information and strategy, Bayo Onanuga, said it was not correct to say that the meeting was about foreign exchange.

According to the presidential aide, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 election also failed to prescribe a better policy option to what the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Olayemi Cardoso and his team are executing at the apex bank.

The statement said: “First of all, it was not true that President Tinubu’s meeting last Thursday with the 36 State Governors was centred on discussing foreign exchange crisis and currency fluctuation.

“What was discussed in the main was food supply and how to drastically reduce the food prices. The Minister of Information, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, gave a briefing about the meeting, revealing the highlights to State House Correspondents.

“One was that the meeting established a nexus between the state of security and the rising cost of food. Another was that hoarders are warehousing food, creating artificial scarcity and thus enabling the high cost of food items.

“The decisions at the meeting reflected the main points discussed: Forest rangers are to be strengthened and armed, while police are to recruit more men and the National Economic Council to deepen discussions about creating state police.

“President Tinubu also affirmed his approval for the release of 42,000 Metric tonnes of grains from the national reserve. The government is also in discussion with rice millers to get another 60,000 metric tonnes. President Tinubu said he does not support price control and importation of food. Nigeria, he believes, can grow enough food to feed its citizens and spare some for export.

“The present government is executing the cultivation of 500,000 hectares for wheat, maize, and rice, in many states. Governors are expected to participate in this programme, one of the reasons for last Thursday’s meeting.

“There was no deliberation as former VP Atiku claimed on currency fluctuation. As Alhaji Atiku should know, this is the business of the Central Bank, which has the autonomy to handle the country’s monetary policies. As a matter of fact, the President enjoined the governors, in passing, to allow the CBN to do its work and refrain from dabbling into what is within the CBN’s purview.

“If he would be true to himself and what actually transpired at the meeting, unlike the lies he spewed, we expected Alhaji Atiku to praise President Tinubu for maintaining this stance and for not interfering with the business of Central Bank.

“It is false and preposterous for Atiku to claim that CBN’s FX management policy was hurriedly put together without proper plans and consultations with stakeholders and that the apex bank is hamstrung by Tinubu’s government in implementing a sound FX Management Policy ‘that would have dealt with such issues as increasing liquidity, curtailing/regulating demand, dealing with FX backlogs and rate convergence’.

“Contrary to former VP Atiku’s claim, Cardoso’s CBN is implementing a raft of policies to stabilise the Naira and end volatility in the market and this is already yielding some positive results.

“Capital importation into the country is increasing, according to the latest NBS report. In the fourth quarter of 2023, Nigeria recorded a 66.27 per cent increase in capital inflow, compared with Q3, before Cardoso’s arrival at CBN. In Q3, capital inflow was $654.65 million. It rose to $1.09 billion in Q4.

“Alhaji Atiku will agree that the rise in capital inflow suggests massive investors’ confidence in Nigeria and the policy direction of the Tinubu administration.

“Juxtaposed with the policy options being implemented by the CBN, Atiku’s alternative of a controlled floatation of the Naira is similar to the policy of Godwin Emefiele when an estimated $1.5 billion was spent monthly to shore up the Naira, while arbitrage or round-tripping went on unhindered. Sadly, it was perpetrated by people close to the corridors of power.”

 

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