House to investigate Emefiele over forex crisis

Nigeria’s House of Reps has ordered an investigation into the scarcity of foreign exchange in the country. The motion was moved by a member from Gombe, Hon. Ali Isa-JC.

The decision came after the House observed that despite weekly reports by the Central Bank of Nigeria that it released hard currencies to Bureau De Change operators and commercial banks, the value of the naira against the dollar and the pound sterling continues to depreciate.

The naira currently trades between N475 and N490 to the dollar.

A member from Osun State, Prof. Mojeed Alabi, called for the immediate sacking of the Governor of the CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele.

Alabi argued that the apex bank’s forex policies seemed to continue to worsen the situation rather than serve as a solution.

He advised President Muhammadu Buhari to seek a replacement for Emefiele for his inability to arrest the rapid drop in the value of the naira.

A similar call for Emefiele’s sacking was made by a member from Lagos State, Mr. Raji Olawale.

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Both lawmakers are members of the All Progressives Congress.

They said the CBN claimed that it issued forex to banks and the BDCs weekly at the rate of N179 to $1 to “mitigate or shore up” the local currency but this was not working.

The House resolved among others to direct the CBN to produce the list of establishments that had received forex at subsidised rates since 2015.

The development came as the House summoned the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola; and the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, over alleged “outrageous taxes and duties imposed on steel product manufacturers and service providers” in the country.

Also summoned is the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hamid Ali (retd).

Acting on a motion moved by Mr. Terse Mark-Gbillah, the House resolved to investigate the lack of patronage of Nigerian companies in the provision of steel products and services.

The House said there were reports of the NCS imposing duties and taxes of up to 40 per cent on imported raw materials for steel production.

It said this was negatively affecting the operations of end-users in the “power, oil and gas, railways and other sectors.”

“The lack of patronage of local companies and products is a clear violation of Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act, 2010,” the House added.