President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday explained that he is not disposed to the devaluation of the naira as being canvassed in some quarters because previous exercise failed to benefit the nation and the generality of Nigerians.
He said he stands to be convinced about the tangible benefit the vast majority of Nigerians will derive from any such devaluation now.
Buhari spoke at a meeting with members of the Council of Retired Federal Permanent Secretaries at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said he still holds on firmly to the same conviction which motivated his principled resistance to devaluation during his tenure as military head of state.
“When I was military head of state, the IMF and the World Bank wanted us to devalue the naira and remove petrol subsidy, but I stood my ground for the good of Nigeria,” his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, quoted him as saying.
“The Naira remained strong against the dollar and other foreign currencies until I was removed from office in August, 1985 and it was devalued.
“But how many factories were built and how many jobs were created by the devaluation?
“That is why I’m still asking to be convinced today on the benefits of devaluation.”
He welcomed the Council’s pledge of support for the successful implementation of his administration’s change agenda, especially in such priority areas as improving security, curbing corruption and revitalizing the national economy.
He added: “I am glad you have rightly identified the key issues we campaigned on.
“We need a dynamic bureaucracy which will not mislead us into taking wrong decisions.”
The Council was established in 2004 to serve as a platform for retired permanent secretaries to offer constructive advice to government on key policy issues.
Chief Philip Asiodu, pioneer chairman of the council, prayed that the administration would succeed where its predecessors had failed because, as he said, Nigeria has already lost many opportunities for progress.
“We are non-partisan. The interest of Nigeria is paramount to us and we are anxious that you should succeed,” Chief Asiodu told the President.