A House of Representatives member, Babajide Obanikoro, has suggested the shutdown of domiciliary accounts holding foreign currencies for Nigerians in order to protect the value of the nation’s currency, the Naira.
The value of Nigeria’s naira has alarmingly declined over the past few years and is currently trading at well over N500 per dollar in parallel markets.
Obanikoro in a tweet on Tuesday, stated that closing the domiciliary accounts belonging to regular Nigerians will fix the sliding value problem.
“I am not the CBN Governor, but at this moment, I am of the opinion that the apex bank should mandate that all domiciliary accounts be closed for the next 12 months.
“Let’s see the effect on the Naira. After all, you can’t go to any of the Western world and open a foreign currency account”, he posted.
The lawmaker tweeted later, after harsh public criticism of his suggestion, that he’s working on a Bill that ‘will help save the naira’.
The Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) has repeatedly had to assure Nigerians that it has no plans to convert foreign exchange (FX) in the domiciliary accounts of customers into naira.
“The bank has not contemplated, and will never contemplate, any such line of action,” the apex bank’s spokesperson, Osita Nwanisobi, said earlier, in September, after issuing a similar statement in August.
The paranoia over the shutdown of domiciliary accounts skyrocketed after the CBN stopped selling foreign exchange to Bureau de Change (BDC) operators in July, for allegedly sabotaging the naira’s value.
CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the bank was finding it more difficult to meet its mandate of maintaining Nigeria’s forex reserve due to the greed and corruption of the operators.
The weekly allocations to the operators were then channeled to commercial banks, who were directed to continue to disburse forex to customers as stipulated by the law.