The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said despite the voracious attacks on all fronts, it would resist calls in some quarters to allow the naira to float freely.
The apex bank said no country allows its currency to be freely attacked without introducing measures to protect the currency.
CBN Director of Corporate Communications, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor stated this in Lagos during an interactive session with labour leaders on measures by the CBN to ensure stability in the financial system and economy.
He said Nigeria has not broken any World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement by the restriction placed on providing foreign exchange on importation of 43 items into the country.
He said since 2014 when the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele assumed the leadership of the Apex Bank, his activities have been people-centered geared towards improving the welfare of the people.
To further create jobs and grow the economy, he said the CBN is reviving the textile and cotton industry which used to be the largest employers of labour after the civil service, disclosing that over 100,000 cotton farmers have been mobilized.
According to him, the CBN imposed the ban on 41 items initially before adding two items – textile products and palm oil – to stop the exportation of Nigerian jobs abroad and trigger massive local production.
Okoroafor explained that the bank did this despite the attacks on the CBN especially from Lagos, the commercial nerve centre of the country.
He said, “They started attacking from all fronts asking Emefiele must go. That is the greatest offence that the CBN under Emefiele has committed. We will continue to battle and this is what we have been battling. We didn’t break any WTO agreement.”
“Between 2014 and 2019, we have been intervening and we are still under attack. They said we should allow the naira to float and be determined by market force.”
“We told them there is no country in the world where the currency is allowed to float freely. They have a way of managing their currency to make sure it does not hurt their people.”
“Our joy is that the President reasoned with us and gave us the needed political support. What we are saying is that we are not going to allow the naira to be attacked by anybody.”
General Secretary of the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGWTN), Comrade Issa Aremu said the current CBN has done well through its numerous interventions in the various sectors of the economy.
He however advised that the country should work towards a single-digit inflation rate, saying the CBN should be supported by all and sundry to revive the comatose manufacturing sector of Nigeria.