NECA calls for caution as CBN moves to unify forex market

The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has called for caution following the adjustment of the Naira against the Dollar from N360 to N380 by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

However, NECA acknowledged that the move was supposedly in furtherance of the apex bank efforts to strengthen the Naira.

Speaking on this development, the Director-General of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Dr Timothy Olawale said that though the announcement is a welcome development, the timing, however, left much to be desired.

He explained that noted one of the challenges NECA observed in the management of the economy by the fiscal and monetary policymakers have been misalignment and improper timing of the policies.

According to him, following the approval of the US$3.4billion via the Rapid Financial Instrument by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which highlighted the need for the unification of the exchange rate among other measures, we believe that, with the ravaging effect of the impact of COVID-19 on business and workers, yielding to the pressure of the IMF at this time is not a welcome development to the economy.

“We are aware of such a proposal to other economies like Venezuela, Iran and Egypt, who are developing strategies to introduce cushioning measures for managing the impact of the devaluation or unification of the exchange market.”

While expressing support for the exchange rate unification, the NECA Director-General averred that “we are aware of the positive impact of unifying the exchange rate, as we are in full support of shunning multiple currency practices, this we believe, have not demonstrated the true reflection of the naira in the market.

“Nevertheless, we are wary of the implication of the sudden unification of the exchange rate to the economy at this time. We believe this will be counterproductive, as the nation depends hugely on the importation of raw materials, equipment, fuels (most especially). We are sure this will imply a higher cost of all imported products, with increased potential for reintroduction of subsidy regime.

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“We advocate for a gradual unification of the exchange rate, as the timing is not just right. We solicit for more cushioning measures, like, expanded cash transfers to workers to boost demand, grants or low interest loans to business, before such policy can be productive to the economy”, he said.

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