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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Reducing pilgrimages, ministers’ foreign trips will curb naira-dollar crisis

After a thorough investigation on reasons for the hike in cost of living across the country, the Lagos State House of Assembly has attributed increase in number of Christians and Muslims embarking on pilgrimages, ministers, commissioners as well as other government appointees’ foreign trips to the continued downward slide in the value of the naira against the dollar which has resulted in hike of foodstuffs prices in Nigeria.

They added that there is need for the Federal Government to introduce policies that will cut down number of foreign trips including seminars and conferences public officeholders can attend.

The lawmakers, who made this recommendations on Tuesday during plenary while deliberating on issues of public concerns, advised the federal government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to consider this and other bold steps that will help to shore up value of the naira.

During the plenary chaired by the Speaker, Mudasiru Obama, the lawmakers resolved that “the federal government should come up with a mechanism to reduce foreign trips for seminars and conferences by ministries as well as agencies and that this should apply to states”.

While stressing the need to strengthen security across the nation, the House also called on the CBN “to embark on sensitisation of Nigerians on the steps being taken by the apex bank to reduce the pressure on naira while informing on the expected roles of Nigerians at this time.”

The Assembly urged that depositors of dollars in banks can be engaged for an acceptable arrangement where such funds can be utilised by the government to help reduce pressure on the naira.

During the proceedings, the speaker lamented the disparity between the dollar and naira while commending the CBN for taking some measures with the hope that such actions would yield positive results.

Obasa, who further commended the National Assembly for inviting the CBN governor for discussion recently, said: “In my opinion, the CBN and government should embark on sensitisation and information dissemination to make people understand what the government is doing. The pressure on the naira is too much, but the CBN should make sure that national interest is supreme.”

He urged the government to regulate religious pilgrimages as they attract undue interest in dollars and put pressure on the naira. According to him, this action could be sustained until the naira stabilises.

“To save the naira, the federal government and states can stop foreign conferences and seminars. If possible, we can bring the resource persons to Nigeria to deliver their lectures. We all need to look inward to support the government.

“Locally, some people in Nigeria doing businesses demand dollars instead of naira. Even at parties now, you see people spray dollars instead of naira. We need a way out and to do this, we need the support of citizens. That’s the essence of sensitisation.

Speaking earlier under ‘Matter of Urgent Public Importance’, Femi Saheed (Kosofe Constituency 2), said the current naira-dollar disparity, which was hovering between N1,474 and N1,500, is the direct consequence of the policies of the Godwin Emefiele-led CBN.

According to him, the naira will gain strength if measures including fixing the nation’s refineries, strengthening the education and health sectors are taken.

“I think the current CBN governor should work on moral suasion to get people to pull out the dollars in their domiciliary account,” he said.

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