The Nigerian government has warned ‘certain elements’ within some of the nation’s national institutions whom it said were using their accomplices to manipulate the foreign exchange market.
Reading a riot act to financial regulators on Wednesday, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, said the government was aware of the activities of the elements.
He said the individuals rather than exert their regulatory powers have chosen to manipulate the market to the detriment of the national economy.
Addressing a news conference in Abuja, Mr Malami said these forces, who have failed in their attempts to force devaluation of the Naira, were creating artificial currency situation with the aim of undermining the economic programme of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The current state of the Naira is not the result of neutral economic factors or directly related to demand and supply forces alone.
“On the contrary, and indeed, on a vary sad note, it is apparent that our national currency is being deliberately undermined through carefully orchestrated criminal conspiracies and manipulation by unscrupulous elements hiding under the clog of the so called market forces,” he stated.
Mr Malami describes the activities of currency manipulators as economic terrorism.
He reiterated the government’s commitment to investigating and prosecuting all indicted persons for economic sabotage.
“As a responsible government we cannot afford to allow such a situation anchored on unlawful alliances and criminal enterprise to continue unchecked when it is apparent that its primary objective is to sabotage the economic agenda of the present administration,” Mr Malami warned.
Recent government policies have resulted in the fall of the Naira in the parallel market, forcing the International Monetary Fund to advise Nigeria to lift the foreign exchange ban and allow a more flexible rate for the Naira.
But President Buhari said hard currency curbs were necessary, as Nigeria could no longer afford to import as much as it did in the past due to the falling oil revenues.