By Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
For the umpteenth time, President Muhammadu Buhari has 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.
A statement issued by the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina said he maintained his stand on Naira devaluation yesterday while speaking at a meeting with members of the Council of Retired Federal Permanent Secretaries who paid him a courtesy call at the State House in Abuja.
Buhari said that he still held the conviction which motivated his principled resistance to devaluation in his first tenure as Head of State.
The president said: “When I was military Head of State, the IMF and the World Bank wanted us devalue the Naira and remove petrol subsidy but I stood my grounds for the good of Nigeria.
“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.”
The retired Permanent Secretaries were led to the President by Otunba Christopher Tugbobo.
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 revitalizing the national economy.
“I am glad you have rightly identified the key issues we campaigned on.
“We need a dynamic bureaucracy which will not mislead us into taking wrong decisions,” the president said.
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.
Chief Philip Asiodu, the pioneer Chairman of the Council, said that its members wanted the present administration to succeed because Nigeria had already lost many opportunities for progress.
“We are non-partisan. The interest of Nigeria is paramount to us and we are anxious that you should succeed,” Asiodu told the President.