CBN rejects IMF’s call to float local currency

Hauwa Noroh Ali , Washington

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has rejected calls by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Nigeria to float the Naira.

CBN’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, who said this on the sideline of the ongoing IMF/ World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington DC, noted that the Nigerian government has no intention of ‘killing’ Nigerians through undesirable monetary policies.

Mr. Okorafor, reacting to calls for the Naira to be floated, noted that it made no sense for the country to introduce a policy that will ‘kill’ Nigerians.

” Our economy has its own peculiarities, and we cannot kill our people in the name of floating the naira,” Mr. Okorafor said, adding that the Nigerian market is extensively liberalized already and the call to float the naira is unnecessary.

” Yesterday, when Madame Lagarde (IMF boss) was discussing the economy of Egypt, she lamented the devastating inflation that is in that country,” he noted.

“Egypt has half of our population, Egypt receives about $12 billion in foreign aids and several billions in tourism. We are 180 million people, our infrastructure is so poor and the productive capacity cannot be fast enough to rise to benefit from massive depreciation.

“If you float the naira today, and given the discoveries by security agencies, you’ll discover that our case will be terrible.

“If Egypt today has an inflation rate of almost 31 per cent, remember Angola also has about 36 percent inflation, ours is at 17.26 per cent.

Mr. Okorafor also said that there is no country that floats its currency by just leaving it to the dictates of the market.

“If we float the naira and allow speculators and those with corruption money and all the people who create the bubbles to launch into the market, you can yourself imagine the kind of situation we will find ourselves,” he said.