Dollar exchange rate disparity worries finance minister

There is need to harmonise the various exchange rates regime in the country, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has said.

In an interview, the minister said although the foreign exchange had been moderated for some time now, “there is still a gap and that gap is what we have to bridge as much as possible from N305 to N360.”

She disclosed that foreign exchange convergence rates was one of the finance ministry’s targets, adding that there had been a cordial working relationship with the monetary authorities, but acknowledged that more needed to be done.

“We did a quick assessment of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan’s impact on households. We have agreed that the priority will have to be agriculture and food security, power, petroleum, as well as, oil and gas, manufacturing, as well as, small and medium enterprises; and the alignment of the fiscal and monetary policies.

“Of course security and fight against corruption and we added housing and financing of Small and Medium Enterprises,” she said.

Ahmed also assured that her team would work more closely with the monetary authorities for better coordination of the economy.

She said, “As a result of the gaps, the monetary authorities are developing or implementing policies that ideally should have been done by the fiscal authorities. So we have to bridge that gap.

“And maybe because there is insufficient impetus from the fiscal side, the monetary authorities appear in some cases to be running faster than the fiscal.

“For me, we have been able to establish an excellent relationship with the Central Bank of Nigeria and working together. We have to determine things that have to do with tariffs, imports and exports.”

She explained that ministries of finance and that of budget and national planning were merged to ensure better coordination.

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