The presidency has reacted to criticisms trailing the directive made by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to banks to sell dollar to intending hajj pilgrims at N197.
According to the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, the directive is not new, as it had been approved three months ago by the president.
This means the directive had been put in place before the government implemented it open market policy for the naira, throwing it open to market forces to determine its price at the forex market.
He also stated that the “It was approved for Christian and Muslim pilgrimages for this year”, adding that “The CBN has offered an explanation” and that “The Chairman of the Hajj Commission has confirmed that it is non-discriminatory.”
The CBN’s directive had attracted several criticisms from Nigerians, especially the business community and importers, as the naira rose to an all-time high of N400 to the dollar at the parallel market on Friday.
A number of Nigerians lamented that it was a fraud and ploy by some government officials to ship money out of the country
The Vice President of the Association of Tyre Marketers, ANTM, Okechuku Eze-Ifeoma, said there is something fundamentally wrong with those managing the nation’s economy.
Eze-Ifeoma said: “It is fraud, pure fraud. Somebody somewhere is using it to pull out money because if they have this dollar to give out at N190-N197 why are they suffering Nigerians.
“In the name of Hajj or pilgrimage they are now giving dollar at N190-N197 and some of us that are businessmen are getting our own at N400, how can you reconcile it?”, he asked.
The Federal Government is to subsidise this year’s Hajj pilgrims with about N7.94 billion as against N2.4 billion of the previous year.
RipplesNigeria …without borders, without fears