Conference of Nigeria Political Parties {CNPP} is alarmed with the Free Fall of the Naira; which is regrettably an unholy heavy taxation on Nigerians. The Naira is sliding from N117 to N140 per US Dollar at the last count.

Whereas, we acknowledge the global financial meltdown; however we strongly frown at the free fall of the Naira and lack of imagination or underestimation of the global meltdown by President Umaru Musa Yaradua administration. Government has been dithering or at best confused, improvising and ineffective, since the global meltdown which initially they claimed Nigerian economy was immune from.

CNPP like most discerning observers was appalled when in an answer to the free fall of the Naira, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Professor C.C.Soludo, told hapless Nigerians that the dangerous slide of the Naira was strategic. We rated this comment as a free market view of the only Central Bank Governor on the planet who failed to regulate the high interest of the banks when others are dropping theirs to the lowest to get their economy back on track.

There is no doubt that the slide of the Naira creates uncertainty, instability, high food prices and indeed hyper-inflation. We are compelled to ask, by allowing the free fall of the Naira are we minimizing or maximizing our losses or in other words who benefits?

It is our considered view that Nigerians are the victims of the free fall of the Naira and government the only beneficiary. Nigerians are the losers because oil is the only source of our foreign exchange earner and the oil is sold in dollars not in Naira. It is trite in economics that nations devalue their currencies to enhance exports, in our own case successive governments in Nigeria had abandoned agriculture and light industries, leaving us with mono-oil- economy. Therefore we cannot benefit for we have nothing to export even textiles but oil.
On this score, our understanding is that the strategy Professor Soludo harped on is like squeezing water out of stone, which means that government is deliberately manipulating the Naira to squeeze money out of the people, to make up from the fall of oil price in the international market. It is heavy taxation through the back door.

Nigerians do not deserve this heavy taxation, from a leadership that is inefficient, grossly corrupt and that failed to utilize the unprecedented golden-oil-age of the past nine years; to provide infrastructure, build human capital, to institute social safety nets or save for the rainy day.

The heavy taxation through the manipulation of the Naira exposes the gross corruption and inefficiency that is the metaphor of our return to civil rule. Many Nigerians had called for the use of the excess crude revenue to provide infrastructure-electricity, railways, health care etc and the government failed to listen. Is not ironical that few months after the fall in oil price that the government is nervous?

It is worthy to note that late General Sani Abacha regime was able to stabilize the Naira and provide more infrastructures than Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Yar'adua regimes; at less than $20 per barrel price  which oil was sold throughout his regime.

Consequently, we call on President Umaru Musa Yaradua to stop this heavy taxation, stop the protection of looters of our oil revenue and note that government has strong role to play in stabilizing the Naira, regulating our economy, financial institutions and recovery of missing funds.
Osita Okechukwu
National Publicity Secretary

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