President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his opposition to the devaluation of the naira.
He said Nigeria could not compete with developed countries which produce to compete among themselves and could afford to devalue their local currencies.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President spoke on Saturday while contributing to a Presidential Panel Roundtable on Investment and Growth Opportunities at the opening of the Africa 2016: Business for Africa, Egypt and the World at Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
Buhari was quoted as saying that Nigeria could not afford to devalue its currency because the country imports everything, including toothpicks.
He said, “Developed countries are competing among themselves and when they devalue they compete better and manufacture and export more.
“But we are not competing and exporting but importing everything including toothpicks. So, why should we devalue our currency?
“We want to be more productive and self-sufficient in food and other basic things such as clothing.
“For our government, we like to encourage local production and efficiency.”
The President added that those who have developed taste for foreign luxury goods should continue to pay for them rather than put pressure on the government to devalue the naira.
He added that the priority of his administration is to ensure national food security before export of food products.
He stressed that Nigeria being a mono-economy dependent on oil, and with a teeming unemployed youth population, the way out of the current slump in the global oil market, is for the administration to focus on agriculture and solid minerals development.
“The land is there and we need machinery inputs, fertilizer and insecticides,” he said.
Buhari expressed optimism that Nigeria would get out of its current economic downturn.