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Friday, April 22

Buhari: Naira was strong till I was removed in 85

Buhari: Naira was strong till I was removed in ’85

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has restated his aversion to devaluation, recalling that the naira was strong until he was removed as head of state in 1985.

Speaking in Abuja on Friday at a meeting with members of the council of retired federal permanent secretaries, the president insisted that he was yet to be convinced that the vast majority of ordinary Nigerians would  derive any tangible benefit from a devaluation of the naira.

Buhari said that he still holds the conviction that motivated his principled resistance to devaluation in his first tenure as 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 grounds for the good of Nigeria,” he told the retired permanent secretaries led by Christopher Tugbobo.

“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.”

Buhari welcomed the council’s pledge of support for the successful implementation of his administration’s change agenda, especially in the priority areas of improving security, curbing corruption and revitalising the national economy.

“I am glad you have rightly identified the key issues we campaigned on,” he said. “We need a dynamic bureaucracy, which will not mislead us into taking wrong decisions.”

The council of retired federal permanent secretaries was established in 2004 to serve as a platform for retired permanent secretaries to offer constructive advice to government on key policy issues.

Philip Asiodu, pioneer chairman of the council, said its members want the present administration to succeed because Nigeria had already lost many opportunities for progress.

“We are non-partisan,” Asiodu told the president. “The interest of Nigeria is paramount to us and we are anxious that you should succeed.”

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