President Muhammadu Buhari has insisted that he is yet to be convinced that majority of ordinary Nigerians will derive any tangible benefit from naira devaluation.
Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, quoted Buhari as insisting so yesterday at the Presidential Villa Abuja while meeting with members of the Council of Retired Federal Permanent Secretaries.
The president stated that he still held the conviction which motivated his principled resistance to devaluation in his first tenure as head of state.
“When I was military head of state, the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank wanted us to devalue the naira and remove petrol subsidy but I stood my grounds for the good of Nigeria,” the president was quoted as saying.
“The naira remained strong against the dollar and other foreign currencies until I was removed from office in August 1985 and it was devalued.
But how many factories were built and how many jobs were created by the devaluation?
“That is why I am still asking to be convinced today on the benefits of devaluation,” the Buhari told the retired permanent secretaries led by Otunba Christopher Tugbobo.
He welcomed the council’s pledge of support for the successful implementation of his administration’s change agenda, especially in the priority areas of improving security, curbing corruption and revitalising the national economy.
“I am glad you have rightly identified the key issues we campaigned on,” the president told his visitors, adding that his administration needs a dynamic bureaucracy that would not mislead it into taking wrong decisions.
Chief Philip Asiodu, the pioneer chairman of the council, was quoted to have said that its members wanted Buhari’s administration to succeed “because Nigeria has already lost many opportunities for progress.
“We are non-partisan. The interest of Nigeria is paramount to us and we are anxious that you should succeed,” Asiodu told President Buhari. The council was established in 2004 to serve as a platform for retired permanent secretaries to offer constructive advice to government on key policy issues.