HomeNEWSAtedo Peterside Condemns Federal Government's N90 Billion Hajj Subsidy as Economic Setback

Atedo Peterside Condemns Federal Government’s N90 Billion Hajj Subsidy as Economic Setback

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Afor Kenneth

Atedo Peterside, the founder of Stanbic IBTC and ANAP Foundation, criticized the Federal Government’s N90 billion subsidy for the 2024 Hajj, describing it as a setback to the nation’s economy.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Peterside expressed his belief that the decision has political motivations, especially with the next electoral cycle in mind.

“This is not about religion but about politics. We are mixing religion and politics. So, what do we now expect Christians to do? – to say they want their own share of this subsidy,” he questioned on Thursday.

“How are you going to refuse them? This is all about politics, perhaps someone feels that ‘it is time for me to score some cheap political points.

“You now come and send the wrong signal about our economy at a time when our economy is in deep trouble. We need to bring ourselves out of the hole. Each time you turn around and do something insignificant like this and throw away N90 billion, you set back the process by which investors and others can take you seriously.

“For me, it is not about just religion and pilgrimage, it is the setback of the economy by sending the wrong signals. The government should stop sending the wrong signals.”

During the show, the economist also commented on the depreciation of the naira against the dollar, urging the current administration to take measures to strengthen the local currency relative to the dollar and other currencies.

He clarified that the current administration is not to blame for the naira’s depreciation, but emphasized that attempting to quickly restore the currency’s strength would not be effective.

According to him, the optimal approach would be for the central bank to stabilize the naira at a sustainable level and gradually build reserves over time.

“I will be fair to this government, they inherited the exchange rate problem and what they have been doing is trying to manage it. Recently I would have thought, let’s get some stability around N1,300 or N1,400, don’t be in a hurry to appreciate the exchange rate.

“Going to sell dollar to bureau de change at N1,000, N1,050, those guys will turn round two weeks later and sell it at N1,400, N1,500 and they go away laughing. What’s the point for that?

“It’s better to have some stability they can sustain, keep between N1,300 and N1,300 which looks to be the natural equilibrium band today, keep it there for a while, build up your reserve to let confidence come back.

“So stop trying to appreciate the naira in a hurry, it’s not going to work,” Peterside said.

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