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FG’s N90bn Hajj Subsidy Setback to Nigeria’s Economy — Atedo Peterside

Posted by Thandiubani on Fri 17th May, 2024 -

Peterside stated this in an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Thursday.

President Bola Tinubu has been criticized for spending N90 billion to subsidize the 2024 Hajj.
The founder of Stanbic IBTC and ANAP Foundation, Atedo Peterside described the N90 billion subsidy as a setback to the nation’s economy.
Peterside stated this in an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Thursday.
According to him, the move has a political undertone ahead of the next 2027 general elections.
He said, “This is not about religion but about politics. We are mixing religion and politics. So, what do we now expect Christians to do? – to say they want their own share of this subsidy.
“How are you going to refuse them? This is all about politics, perhaps someone feels that ‘it is time for me to score some cheap political points.
“You now come and send the wrong signal about our economy at a time when our economy is in deep trouble. We need to bring ourselves out of the hole. 
“Each time you turn around and do something insignificant like this and throw away N90 billion, you set back the process by which investors and others can take you seriously.
“For me, it is not just about religion and pilgrimage, it is the setback of the economy by sending the wrong signals. The government should stop sending the wrong signals.”
Speaking on the depreciation of the naira against the dollar, the economist asked the President Bola Tinubu’s administration to take steps for the local currency to rebound.
He warned the President Tinubu’s administration that hurrying to make the currency gain strength won’t work out.
According to him, the best approach would be for the central bank to stabilise the naira to a level where they can sustain it for some time and gradually build the reserve.
He said, “I will be fair to this government, they inherited the exchange rate problem and what they have been doing is trying to manage it.
“Recently I would have thought, let’s get some stability around N1,300 or N1,400, don’t be in a hurry to appreciate the exchange rate.
“Going to sell dollars to bureau de change at N1,000, N1,050, those guys will turn around two weeks later and sell it at N1,400, N1,500 and they will go away laughing. What’s the point of that?
“It’s better to have some stability they can sustain, keep between N1,300 and N1,400 which looks to be the natural equilibrium band today, keep it there for a while, build up your reserve to let confidence come back.
“So stop trying to appreciate the naira in a hurry, it’s not going to work,” he said.


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