President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), Alhaji Lawan Gwadabe, has dismissed speculation in some quarters of an imminent devaluation of the naira, stating that a weakening of the local currency at this time, will not do the economy any good.
The ABCON president stated this in a chat with journalists at the sensitisation programme on the “Outcome of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Examiners/Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa’ (GIABA) visit on the operations of BDCs and way forward,” held by the association in Lagos yesterday.
He said: “We have learned of prediction of Afrinvest that there is going to be devaluation by 20 per cent in 2020. For us, we don’t think of any devaluation, yes unification of the various exchange rates is germane, but any discussion on devaluation as at critical level of the economy should be completely discouraged.”
Gwadabe pledged that BDCs would continue to cooperate with the CBN and the Federal Government to counter any volatility in foreign exchange market.
He said: Devaluation will not do any good; more especially we can see, of course, there is border regulation which has improved a lot of activity in the economy. Yet, we are struggling with electricity in terms of its availability and Nigeria still remains an import -dependent country, a lot of children, our schools infrastructure are not there.”
According to him, with the country still facing the challenge of being an import-dependent economy, it will not do augur well for the nation for the naira to be depreciated below N360 per dollar.
“This is because, as far as BDCs are concerned, the exchange rate of a naira to a dollar is N360. All those who are saying N305, N306 to a dollar, for us, this is not a transaction rate; these are rates for government obligations, not for everybody. Besides, what is the percentage of Nigerians that get N306 to a dollar,” he said.
The ABCON boss explained that the sensitisation programme was organised to enhance the capacity of BDCs’ operations as well as evaluate the outcome of the assessment of GIABA and the CBN examination, especially in terms of compliance by BDCs and the way forward for the sub-sector so that the BDCs can continue to be effective in the foreign exchange market.
He added that the gathering was also “to celebrate consistent four years of exchange rate stability and compliance in our operations.”
The downward trend in the country’s external reserves in the last few months has triggered speculation that the CBN may soon devalue the naira.