LCCI links forex crisis to weak industrial capacity

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The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has attributed the country’s lingering foreign exchange crisis to its weak industrial capacity.

The President of the chamber, Gabriel Idahosa, stated this during an exclusive interview with The PUNCH.

He noted that the country lacked the willpower required to begin an industrial revolution capable of healing its ailing economy.

He further referenced China and South Korea as some of the countries whose blooming economy had been the product of a deliberate and painstaking industrial revolution.

“We are not ready to make the sacrifice for an industrial revolution. Most countries with strong manufacturing industries like China and South Korea deliberately closed their border to imports.

“China sealed its border for 25 years. If you went to China from 1988 to 1990, everybody was driving bicycles. They didn’t import cars until they started making their cars. We need an industrial revolution, but we need a strong political will.

Speaking further, Idahosa noted that Nigeria’s forex crisis was largely due to declining exports as against the popular narrative that the apex bank’s ineptitude was to blame.

He added, “As long as we don’t export, dollars will be scarce; and, anything that is scarce, the price will go up. It is scarce because we have refused to export. We just sit down and blame CBN and the government. Let’s stop living in this dream world where our problem is the CBN.

“As far as foreign currency is concerned, our problem is with us, Nigerians. Let us look at our dining tables every day, all the products there, how many of them are produced locally?”

Idahosa’s remarks came on the heels of reports that the naira had once again been devalued to N1348.63/$ at the close of trading on Monday.

The local currency closed at N1,357 against the greenback on Thursday after the FMDQ Security Exchange reviewed the methodology used for the calculation of its rates.

This came as the Central Bank of Nigeria released a circular to authorised dealers on financial market price transparency, warning them against engaging in sharp practices.

On Wednesday, the central bank instructed Deposit Money Banks to sell their excess dollars by February 1, 2024.

Economists and private sector bodies had expressed worries over the devaluation of the naira, warning that this may result in more factory closures and job losses if nothing was done to stem the tide.



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