The previous multiple exchange rate system was used as a money-making scheme for selected individuals who diverted “our national wealth and made them filthy rich,” President Bola Tinubu has said.
Mr Tinubu said this in a national broadcast aired on Monday evening.
The president described the scheme as unfair to many Nigerians, asserting it is a highway for currency speculation.
He said the money could have been used to support millions of Nigerians by constructing factories, opening businesses, and creating jobs.
“Also, the multiple exchange rate system that had been established became nothing but a highway of currency speculation. It diverted money that should have been used to create jobs, build factories and businesses for millions of people,” Mr Tinubu stated, castigating his predecessor and party man Muhammadu Buhari.
The president added, “Our national wealth was doled on favourable terms to a handful of people who have been made filthy rich simply by moving money from one hand to another. This, too, was extremely unfair.”
After assuming office on May 29, Mr Tinubu immediately removed the petrol subsidy. He later announced the unification of the exchange rate to end the disparity between the official and black market rates.
Many Nigerians criticised these specific policies for worsening their hardships.
But the president, in his speech, claimed that the exchange rate system added to the danger that the illegal and widespread accumulation of money presented to the economy and the future of “our democratic system.”
Thus, he pledged to address the significant imbalances afflicting the economy to improve it in the long term.
“It also compounded the threat that the illicit and mass accumulation of money posed to the future of our democratic system and its economy. Ending the subsidy and the preferential exchange rate system were key to this fight. This fight is to define the fate and future of our nation. Much is in the balance,” said Mr Tinubu.