Ogbe backs CBN’s new forex control measures
Ogbe, who urged support for the apex bank to save the country from imminent collapse, said: “It is time to openly support and encourage the CBN governor and his board for the bold steps they have taken in recent months to stop the imminent collapse of the Nigerian state through many decades of reckless indifference to the management of our foreign reserves.”
The former PDP chieftain, who spoke in a chat with newsmen in Abuja yesterday, urged the apex bank not to yield to undue pressure in maintaining the position it has adopted because the country stands to benefit from it.
He said: “By the time it acted, reliable information had it that the weekly forex demand for sundry imports stood at USD 1.5 billion. How does any country, under any guise, expects to survive under such an outrageous financial assault is unimaginable.
“I have absolute support for the new CBN measures and must go further than just rationalising.”
He said those criticising the CBN simply fail to recognise that Nigeria’s biggest tragedy lies in failure of political and business leaders to show any form of patriotism in matters which seriously affect our collective good, adding: “Of course, it is clear that for the last 30 years, we have been taken prisoner by the neo-liberals who quickly recite the doctrine of free trade, financial liberalisation and globalisation. They never seem to give any thought to the reality on ground that Africa has only two percent of the world trade and less than five percent of world’s manufacturing capacity. And we are therefore hopelessly unable to compete. So, we have been more victims than the beneficiaries of globalisation.
“A clear example of our lack of wisdom in this matter is that we have failed to look at China, India and Malaysia which bluntly refused to be pushed down this track and today, have clearly shown that they are better for it.”
He further said: “However, one would like to advise that restrictions alone will not solve our problems. There are two other near-impossible challenges standing in the way of domestic production to meet our needs of substitution for banned or restricted imports. The two are the power problem and the current outrageous interest rate, which simply makes it impossible for local industrialisation.
“The CBN and the Federal Government working together with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the farmers must very seriously address these challenges.
“But they must all take steps to give maximum support to local production because it should be clear to all; we either produce or we perish.”