It is fallacious to say Nigeria’s economy is in shambles or in poor condition, or even worse off than where Buhari left it, because of the floating of the Naira. Overall, our economy has expanded, according to the World Bank, and is set to grow by 3% this year. Additionally, Nigeria has been upgraded by both Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, which are the largest financial ratings firms on the planet. And our Stock Market is now the best performing on Earth.
Countries that used to be in our situation, like Vietnam and Brazil, actively seek a weaker currency because that is about the only way to force citizens to move from consumption to production. Many Nigerians, on their own, are not patriotic enough to consume local goods and services in order to build the economy.
The floatation is working. And that is why all major Presidential candidates, including Bola Tinubu, Waziri Atiku Abubakar, and Peter Obi, said they would float the Naira. Irrespective of who won in 2023, Naira flotation was going to be a reality.
We will never grow as a country if we use our foreign exchange earnings to fund the importation of tomato paste from Italy, human hair from India, and rice from Thailand. And the $20 million we spend on MTN and Airtel daily is only destroying our economy. Our Naira bends to reflect our consumption trends.
I repeat, as long as the Naira is floated, Nigeria cannot keep choosing foreign goods and services and expect the Naira to appreciate. We must build our country the way other people built theirs. Whether we sink or swim now depends on our consumption habits, not just Tinubu and the Central Bank of Nigeria.
On the side of the government, they have to ensure all expatriate workers in Nigeria are paid in Naira, not dollars. In fact, it should be a crime to transact commerce in Nigeria, whether offline or online, in any currency other than Naira. Western Union and other money remittance apps must make payouts in Naira or exit Nigeria.
Public officials must use Glo for official calls, not MTN and Airtel. And fly Air Peace internationally, except Air Peace does not fit the route. At the same time, the government must only buy Innoson vehicles, except where there is a COMPELLING security need to use a non-Innoson vehicle.
In the part of the private sector, let us return to the cassava bread policy of the Jonathan era. We cannot keep eating bread made from imported wheat. If we cannot grow our own wheat, then we do with cassava bread or do without bread. We will not die. Bread is even an unhealthy staple.
And finally, we as citizens of Nigeria must realise we are not just onlookers but stakeholders. If we do not cooperate with our economy, we automatically choose to collaborate with poverty.