Much like everything else in Nigeria, it’s a hard time for the naira. The currency’s value against the dollar has been falling for decades. But the alarming freefall of what little value it has left seems to suggest it doesn’t have a praying mother.
…only a praying father
The naira slumped to N710 per $1 at the parallel market just days after we also found out Nigeria doesn’t earn as much as it needs to service debt. The naira’s depreciation is at the worst level it’s ever been, and right now, it’s barely hanging on for dear life.
The naira’s race to the bottom
One of the reasons for the naira’s troubles is the scarcity of dollars in the official Investors & Exporters window. This has pushed many to the parallel market where Bureau De Change (BDC) operators are king.
Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings are derived from crude oil export profits, proceeds from non-oil exports, diaspora remittances and foreign direct investment (FDI). But all these channels have been inadequate in plugging the dollar shortage in the market.
The rising inflation rate, which hit 18.6% in June, has further damaged trust in the naira and fueled even more demand for dollars.
It’s so bad that the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, was desperate enough to threaten Nigerians not to buy dollars with the naira. And speaking of that guy….
Meffy the naira crusader
Emefiele (or Meffy for short) eats a big portion of the blame for the rags-to-more-rags story of the naira. When he assumed office in 2014, the dollar exchanged for ₦167 on the black market. Eight years and dozens of failed experiments later, the exchange rate has risen to ₦710 per dollar.
He’s fought against BDC operators, importers, parents paying their children’s school fees, medical tourists not named Buhari and even trees just to save the naira. He also publicly offered to physically fight for the naira’s honour after he accused AbokiFX of damaging its reputation.
This man has given it his all. But sometimes, you cannot do more than yourself.
Meffy the naira scapegoat
On Wednesday, July 27th, 2022, senators agonised over the state of the naira because it’s touching everybody. Senator Biodun Olujimi put it best when she said, “What’s happening to the dollar [sic] is a replica of what’s happening to Nigeria.”
The senators resolved to invite Meffy to the chamber to explain the rapid depreciation of the naira to them. It’s quite like being called to the principal’s office to explain why your SS3 set is the worst in the school’s history.
Unfortunately, this meeting will take place behind closed doors and won’t be accessible to the public. But we don’t imagine Meffy has any new ideas on how to save the naira, and Buhari just wants to print more money.
We don’t know who else is out there capable of saving the naira from the further damaging disgrace that’s impacting Nigerian lives negatively. But based on his eight years of history, it’s probably not Meffy.
While we wait for a saviour, we just have one appeal to the dollar: