Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari erased any doubt about who is in charge of currency policy in Africa’s biggest economy — to the detriment of the central bank’s independence.
Buhari said that he won’t “kill the naira” by allowing it to be devalued and that a weaker currency will only result in higher inflation and hardship for the country’s poor- and middle-class. His comments to Nigerians living in Kenya on Wednesday came only a day after Governor Godwin Emefiele resisted pressure to depreciate the naira despite a plunge in oil prices that’s slashed revenue in Africa’s biggest crude producer.
While Buhari’s “mind is open and he’s prepared to listen to other arguments,” the central bank “is not a sovereign entity” and accounts to the presidency and Parliament, Garba Shehu, a spokesman for the president, said by phone.
“The thinking of the president is informed by advice from the central bank,” Shehu said. “He meets with the governor at least once a week, sometimes more than once. The president is in the loop.”
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