President Muhammadu Buhari granted an interview to the Doha-based state-funded broadcaster, Aljazeera, during his trip to Qatar last weekend.
The high demand for forex by parents whose children/wards are studying abroad in order to pay their tuition fees has been putting undue pressure on the Naira and by extension, the Nigerian economy. President Buhari is persuaded that this practice is responsible for the current decline of the Nigerian currency against other currencies.
Following this discovery, President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigeria cannot afford to sell forex to parents seeking to fund their children education overseas. However, any parent who could afford forex outside the financial window can proceed.
In his words, he said that “those who can afford foreign education for their children can go ahead but Nigeria cannot afford to allocate foreign exchange for those who decide to train their children outside the country. We can’t just afford it. That is the true situation we are in.”
The Central Bank of Nigeria had given some persons foreign exchange to purchase pharmaceutical products abroad but some unscrupulous persons divert same to make more profits. The president has said that culprits would be pursued, arrested and prosecuted. “Anybody who is given dollars by the CBN to import pharmaceuticals and decides to go and sell at parallel market in order to make, maybe additional N100, we will pursue them and punish them”, the president stated.
While handling questions regarding the state of the economy, the president stated that the devaluation of the Naira would not be beneficial to Nigeria, as the country wholly depends on importation. The president has been under pressure to devalue the Naira but he has stated that the country is prepared to go against the advice of the International Monetary Fund( IMF) as regards that issue.
Nigeria virtually imports everything, from rice to toothpicks, therefore, it cannot afford to devalue its currency. The president then asked; ”If it is against our national interest, why can’t we go against the IMF advice?”
He also stated during the interview that Nigeria will not withdraw from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), despite the fall of oil prices in the International Market.
“Under my leadership, Nigeria will not withdraw from OPEC. Between 1976 and 1979, I served as petroleum minister, I very much value the institution of OPEC and I think Nigeria will make the necessary sacrifice remaining in OPEC.”
When asked to make a remark on anti-terrorism war, the president heaved a sigh of relief stating that no local government area of Nigeria was under the control of the Boko Haram insurgents as was the case when he assumed office in May 2015.
He also spoke against the agitation by separatist groups; stating explicitly that Nigeria will not tolerate the state of Biafra. The president, who spoke against the backdrop of the renewed agitation for the realization of the Republic of Biafra, said: “At least two million Nigerians were killed in the Biafra war. And for somebody to wake up, may be they weren’t born, looking for Biafra after two million people were killed, they are joking with the security (of Nigeria) and Nigeria won’t tolerate Biafra.”
According to him, over two million lives were lost during the Nigeria civil war between 1967 to 1970 on the demand of a Biafran state.