Laolu Akande, the spokesperson for Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has stated that his boss did not call for a devaluation of the naira in his statement at the midterm assessment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term in office.
Following the controversy surrounding Osinbajo’s calls for the Central Bank of Nigeria to make the official exchange rate reflect what is available in the market because the official rate is artificially low, Akande defended the Vice President, claiming that the Vice President was only urging for a forex policy that impeded arbitrage and corruption, thus also giving consumers cheaper dollars.
The statement read;
“Our attention has been drawn to statements and reports in the media mis-characterising as a call for devaluation, the view of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN that the Naira exchange rate was being kept artificially low.
“Prof. Osinbajo is not calling for the devaluation of the Naira. He has at all times argued against a willy-nilly devaluation of the Naira.
“For context, the Vice-President’s point was that currently the Naira exchange rate benefits only those who are able to obtain the dollar at N410, some of who simply turn round and sell to the parallel market at N570.
“It is stopping this huge arbitrage of over N160 per dollar that the Vice-President was talking about. Such a massive difference discourages doing proper business, when selling the dollar can bring in 40% profit!
“This was why the Vice-President called for measures that would increase the supply of foreign exchange in the market rather than simply managing demand, which opens up irresistible opportunities for arbitrage and corruption.
“It is a well-known fact that foreign investors and exporters have been complaining that they could not bring foreign exchange in at N410 and then have to purchase foreign exchange in the parallel market at N570 to meet their various needs on account of unavailability of foreign exchange.
“Only a more market reflective exchange rate would ameliorate this. With an increase in the supply of dollars, the rates will drop and the value of the naira will improve.”