HomeViews and ReviewsArresting The Dollarization Of Nigeria’s Economy

Arresting The Dollarization Of Nigeria’s Economy

Sometime in 1975 or thereabout, the military government of Generals Murtala/Obasanjo led a crackdown on illegal trafficking of Nigeria’s currency, otherwise known them as ‘Arrangee’ to stop trafficking of highly valued Naira outside the country.

It was such that at the end of the day, it jailed a renowned Medical Doctor, the late John Sodipo, who was a Medical Adviser to the then Federal Government for trafficking in Naira to the United Kingdom.

Then, the Naira was king. It had much value and respect that department Stores and businesses in Europe accepted Nigeria’s Naira, then backed- up by our ever-rising earnings from petro dollar.

Our Currency was then often smuggled into foreign countries by privileged Nigerians.

They either saved it in the foreign banks for its value or use it to buy rather cheap goods to earn big value back in Nigeria.

Then it was at par with British pounds but was exchanging for N1 to $1.8 United States dollars.

For those who wished to study abroad, not much hassles as payment for fees were often very easy.

Not only that, foreign schools were always eager to open their doors to Nigerian students as the country was swimming in new found Petro dollar.

Today, it is clear to all and sundry that the Dollar has seized the economy of Nigeria as its value has become the barometer for measuring our well-being as a people, individual, corporate organizations and as a Nation.

Except that the Federal Government didn’t spend in dollars, the proceeds from Oil, our black gold, were often converted into dollars to determine how much of it will go for our annual Budget ritual it is that bad.

Today, social parties spend dollars as your strength or that of any celebrant is determined by the dollars you can spray while easy money cronies, aka 419 fraudsters and Yahoo Yahoo, barons and boys also spend in dollars.

Dollar determines the rating of your social engagement.

What is more, schools in Nigeria paying their staffs in Naira now charge Dollars.

For those who do not know the reason why our Naira is falling, they should get statistics from nouveau riche schools like the Atiku Abubakar-owned American University, Afe Babalola, Lekki British Schools, Grange, Turkish schools and others alike that collect fees in Dollars in an economy where the Naira is means of exchange.

Those who wonder why our standard of living has so far fallen to the Almighty dollar should also ask questions from politicians and top-range all-stars hotels in all parts of the country why they spend and charge in dollars.

If Nigerians, like the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor, Dr. Yemi Cardoso, revealed last week, that in the last ten years, spent over $40 billion dollars in health tourism and payments of school fees for their children abroad, then we need not ask why the Naira has been so abused that the currency that was number one in the 80s has fallen by over 1000% just forty years down the line.

It is a demonstration of lack of confidence in our currency and by extension economy by ourselves.

Those who are not satisfied yet should also ask why our banks which hitherto sell dollars to those in need now without hassle, embark on round-tripping after collecting same at CBN rates.

This is why the move by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to set up Special Task Forces in its Zonal Commands for the enforcement of extant laws against mutilation and destruction of our currency is laudable. It remains an assault on our psyche as a nation.

The EFCC also went further by inviting proprietors of private universities and other higher institutions of learning charging fees in Dollars. It declared its commitment to the enforcement of laws in place for the reflation of the economy.

Since solving a problem begins with tapping it from the foundation, EFCC’s move should be backed up by government if the value of the Naira and by extension the life of Nigerians is to be improved since the Dollar has become the standard measure of our worth and being as a people.

Those who spray Dollars at parties and politicians including hotels charging in Dollars should be prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others who have no respect for our image and self worth.

As the Scripture says, “If the foundation is wrong, what can the righteous do,” foundation of our problem today started with our value system eroded over the years.

If the Naira is not protected by enforcing extant laws, by extension our economy will remain at the mercy of speculators who profit from the inflationary rate now almost beyond control by existing regulations but by the regulation and remoulding of our individual and collective psyche as a people.

Institutions including foreign airlines that refused to accept Naira should be prepared to relocate.

Thanks that the CBN has almost fully paid the outstanding Dollar remittances of our Foreign Airlines.

Nigerians must begin to have a sense of pride in their currency if it must regain its value with the multiplier effect on the economy.

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