Speaking at a town hall meeting in Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub, Osinbajo insisted that devaluation was not on the table, adding that is the position of government.
The vice president said the apex bank will operate in line with the speech delivered by President Muhammadu Buhar to come up with flexible exchange rate to be supported by strong monetary policies.
He said the foreign exchange policy of government was to stop unnecessary consumption of imported goods and promote local manufacturing.
Osinbajo said in spite of the high cost of about 22 U.S. dollars to produce a barrel of crude oil now selling at about 33 dollars, no fewer than 38 percent of the foreign reserve was spent on importing petroleum products.
According to him, the previous administration was spending about 20 billion naira, or 100 million dollars on food importations annually, which reduced the nation’s foreign reserve drastically from about 40 billion dollars to about 25 billion dollars.
As a result, he said, the present administration was bent on diversification of the economy from crude oil to agriculture and solid minerals production.
Osinbajo said the focus on agriculture was to make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice, poultry and palm oil production as well as develop the entire agriculture value chain to create wealth and jobs for the teeming youth.
The vice president said the administration’s targets 2018 for complete reliance on refined petroleum products, adding that the petrochemical industry, railway infrastructure and provision of other infrastructure were atop the priority of the government.