FMDQ Boss Seeks Harmonisation of Foreign Exchange Rates


Solomon Elusoji
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of FMDQ, Mr. Bola Onadele has said that the lack of rate harmonisation in the foreign exchange market was hurting Nigeria’s ability to attract foreign capital.

He however expressed optimism that the central bank was gradually working towards achieving a unified exchange rate policy.

Onadele made the assertion on Tuesday, at a CEO/Policy Maker Interactive Breakfast Series organised by Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WimBiz), in Lagos.
“When you have multiplicity of exchange rates, it will be challenging to attract capital into the country,” he said.

“We need to have a single exchange rate and I think we will get there.”
He also decried government’s foggy understanding of the financial markets in the handling of the country’s foreign exchange crisis.

Onadele observed that floating the currency and allowing the forces of demand and supply to set the price, rather than arbitrarily pegging the currency at a fixed point, would have been the ideal strategy.

“By the time you put a figure to something that changes every day, you will have problems,” he said.

Onadele spoke at the breakfast event as part of a panel, which included the Head of Tax Regulatory Services at PwC, Mr. Taiwo Oyedele, the Managing Director of Rural Electrification Agency, Ms. Damilola Ogunbiyi, the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman, and the Chairman of Lafarge, Mr. Bolaji Balogun.
The overarching theme of the discussion was ‘Ease of Doing Business: A Policy Dialogue on Regulations’.

Speaking to the theme, Hadiza said in order to improve the ease of doing business in the country, the ports, especially the Apapa Port, have started to provide 24-hour berthing services.

She also called on other agencies at the ports to streamline their system.
“We need to de-mystify government. Our licencing procedures should be transparent enough for everyone, so you don’t have to know anybody to conduct business at our ports. I believe transparency is the key to increasing ease of doing business in the country.”

Also, Balogun pointed out three key issues – infrastructure, access to finance and education – which must be given greater attention, if the country wants to attract enough capital to drive investment.

He emphasised the importance of having a synergised transport system and pointed out the need for the country to develop its rail infrastructure, as it has the potential to “attract investments that creates jobs.”

On his part, Oyedele urged government to develop a robust, consistent and well-coordinated tax policy.
But, he warned: “If businesses are not thriving and individuals have no income, there is nothing to tax.”