‘Setback To The Economy,’ Atedo Peterside Faults FG’s N90bn Hajj Subsidy

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    The founder of Stanbic IBTC and ANAP Foundation, Atedo Peterside, has faulted the Federal Government’s N90 billion subsidy for the 2024 Hajj, saying it is a setback to the nation’s economy.

    Peterside, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today, believes the move has a political undertone ahead of the next electoral cycle.

    “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.”

    READ ALSOTrying To Make Naira Appreciate In A Hurry Won’t Work – Atedo Peterside

    During the show, the economist also weighed in on the depreciation of the naira against the dollar, asking the current administration to take steps for the local currency to rebound when compared to the greenback and other currencies.

    He exonerated the current administration from the depreciation of the naira but insisted that hurrying to make the currency gain strength won’t work out.

    According to him, the best approach would be for the central bank to stabilise the naira to a level where they can sustain it for some time and gradually build the reserve.

    “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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