Immediate past Governor of Kwara State, Senator Bukola Saraki, has cautioned the Federal Government against going ahead with its proposed plan to devalue the Naira.
Speaking in a telephone interview with The Nation yesterday, Saraki said the policy would not only inflict untold hardship on Nigerians, but have adverse effect on the socio-political stability of the country.
Saraki, who is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology, noted that rather than devalue the nation’s currency, the Federal Government should, without delay, introduce measures aimed at plugging the loopholes in its revenue generation mechanisms.
Obviously frustrated by the government’s insistence in going ahead with the devaluation policy, Saraki declared: “The Federal Government must not devalue the naira. It is a hydra-headed that would not serve the nation and the people any good”.
The lawmaker also described $78 oil price benchmark for the 2015 budget as unrealistic and challenged the Federal Government to give full disclosure of the state of the nation’s economy, even as he declared that the nation’s revenue base is caving in under the stress of falling price of oil in the international market.
Rather than devaluing the naira, Saraki challenged the Federal Government to stop massive crude oil theft, halt payment of subsidy on kerosene and granting of pioneer status to some oil companies, which has denied the nation revenue, as well as the controversial oil SWAP policy of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
He added, “This is not the time to paint over the rust, discussions and the choices we make now must be based on economics not politics. The current position to put the benchmark for oil price at $78 is inconsistent with the economic trend and attitude of the managers of our economy, which has shown in the past to be very wary of over optimistic benchmark assumptions setting rather for the more prudent conservative base. We have a problem in our hands, but not one that cannot be surmounted with the right political will”.
Saraki also advised the government not to inflict further hardship on Nigerians, saying, “Before Nigerians are called upon to make sacrifices, government must show the will to tackle the monumental revenue leakages in our finances”.