The immediate past Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole and former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Prof. Charles Soludo, on Friday exchanged words over alleged N8 billion proceeds from foreign exchange transactions.
Speaking at the Vanguard Economic Discourse held in Lagos, Oshiomhole had accused Soludo of allegedly colluding with two unnamed banks to make N8 billion from the forex market in two days during his tenure as CBN boss.
He said the ex-CBN governor violated the forex rules by ensuring that two banks got huge forex allocations ahead of major naira devaluations.
Also, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Kayode Fayemi, said the ugly trend in the economy started long ago, and that the present government cannot perform magic in fixing the economy.
“We are not going to perform magic in addressing the challenges facing the economy. But the people may not want to hear this. Our tax base is one of the lowest in Africa,” he said.
Oshiomhole alleged that Soludo priced money out of the reach of investors and had no reason to castigate government over present economic crisis.
“We need to raise the purchasing power of the average Nigerian. The problem with the public sector is not wages but fraud,” Oshiomhole said.
But Soludo refuted the allegations, saying that Oshiomhole lied against him.
He said there were no such allocations to the banks as the lenders followed competitive bidding process.
He said the CBN under his tenure built massive foreign reserves and had allowed the exchange rate to adjust to market forces’ demands.
He said the ex- Edo governor does not know the difference between devaluation and depreciation of the naira.
He said at the time of the bid, all the banks got equal chances during the bidding process.
Soludo had during his keynote address, said the country has many challenges, calling for all hands to be on deck to resolve them.
He said, “Nigeria economy is in a dire need of a rescue. The national budget is not working. We are still where we were since independence.
Nigerians have been trusted to rescue the country. The continuous slide in oil prices and Niger Delta crisis is only a simple explanation of the ongoing economic problems.
Nigeria seems to be moving in cycles since independence. Finally the Federal Government has an economic recovery plan, which is supposed to be government’s blueprint for rescuing the economy.
“I want to commend the effort, to be fair, the government inherited a very bad economy. The previous government had unprecedented rate of debt accumulation even at a time of unexpected oil boom.
The previous government was even depleting our foreign reserves instead of doubling what it met. It could have more than doubled the reserves if it grew it by just 50 per cent.”
CREDITS: The Nation