Mr Olumide Adedoyin, Registrar, Chartered Institute of Treasury Management (CITM), has called on the National Assembly (NASS) to enact a law that would regulate acquisition and holding of foreign currencies in the country.
Adedoyin made the call while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday against the backdrop of the free fall of the naira to the dollar.
He urged the government to be alive to its responsibility of protecting the national currency by enacting proper legislation that would protect the value of the Naira.
Adedoyin, while reacting to the statement made by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Olayemi Cardoso, that the naira was undervalued, suggested that the Naira had constantly been abused and not undervalued.
“There are multiple economic indicators ranging from inflation and interest rates, economic growth, trade balance, political will and stability, and market sentiments as determinants for the value of the naira.”
He said there was the need for a political will toward taking fundamental decisions on the process of regulating the acquisition and holding of foreign currencies.
According to him, the challenges currently in the financial system showed that if the monetary authorities pump a trillion dollars into the economy, it would be mopped up within 24 hours.
This, he said, was because the majority of the affluent Nigerians have vaults within their households where foreign currencies are kept.
This, according to him, is either for speculative motives or for illicit trading and value enhancement of private wealth outside the banking system.
The registrar blamed a lack of enforcement and regulatory authorities for not being able to deal with some supermarkets and schools transacting businesses and paying school fees only in dollars.
He said such activities should be viewed as economic crimes against the state, adding that the government should be able to put in place modalities to regulate currencies.
According to him, it is an economic crime in other countries to trade, pay fees, and carry out any financial transactions in any other medium of exchange other than the national currency.
He said the Nigerian currency remained the most abused currency in the world, adding that it reflects how the currency is treated in preference to the dollar.
“In most cases, grafts and gratifications are offered in the currency of choice, where officials demand them only in dollars.”
He advocated that all currencies should go through the banking system to create a paper trail for the avoidance of laundering proceeds of illicit activities of crimes such as kidnapping and drug smuggling, among others.
He urged authorities to think outside the box and find creative solutions to the embattled naira as a rescue mission of making the naira regain its value.