Nigeria’s economic woes self-inflicted, VCs’ leader laments
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The Chairman, Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, Professor Samuel Edoumiekumo, has said that Nigeria’s economic woes are self-inflicted ones.
The Professor of Economics said Nigeria needed a leader with the political will to reverse the weakening naira caused by the high demand for dollars in the country.
Edoumiekumo, who spoke in a telephone interview with Sunday PUNCH, said, “They are all self-inflicted woes. The falling standards of our currency are caused by man-made (actions) and market forces.
“They are man-made because there are some policies you need to put in place. Are we supposed to be spending another currency in this country? In our constitution, what is our legal tender? Then why do you accept dollars? It is wrong.
“The moment you ‘dollarise’ your economy, your currency drops, and you impact on the economy of the US, their economy will continue to gain strength.
“The West; the Americans, they look at it and made their currency an international currency and we will now use it as the standard of measure. It is meant to be so. If you use the dollar as your standard of measure, if you want to buy something in China, you go and look for the dollar.
“It means you are strengthening the dollar at the expense of the naira. It means the demand for dollars will continue to increase. Once the demand for the dollar increases, the price of the dollar will also increase,” he said.
The Vice Chancellor of the Niger Delta University in Bayelsa State also stressed the need for government to activate necessary sanctions against those demanding dollars for products and services.
While lamenting underhand monetary practices, he also decried politicians’ continued use of dollars to bribe and buy votes without being brought to justice.
“Unfortunately, you hear hoteliers, schools that are putting their price tag in dollars, and no one has sanctioned them. You see politicians openly going to Bureau de Change or the black market to buy dollars, and then bribe people or buy votes with it, but nobody does anything to them.
“How do you expect your currency to appreciate? It will not. And because of the cabals that are involved, they will not want to strengthen the naira. It means the naira will continue to fall as some persons are trading in the forex market using the dollar. So, they are making their money.
“How can we have two market prices for the dollar, one official and another backdoor market? When they get it for N300 or N400, they go to the black market and sell it for N700. All the nonsense and the round-tripping that they are doing is the reason why I said that the woes of our country are man-made.
“The President can come, somebody can come, who understands the whole thing, who has the political will to stand firm, and you will see immediately that the naira will start to gain strength.
“It is not because we are not exporting, but there are basic things that we are supposed to do that we are not doing,” he said.