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HomeEntertainment NewsPeterside condemns FG's N90bn subsidy for hajj

Peterside condemns FG's N90bn subsidy for hajj


Atedo Peterside, the founder of the Stanbic IBTC Bank has condemned the use of taxpayers’ money to subsidise people going on pilgrimage.

Peterside who was speaking on Politics Today, a current affairs programme on Channels Television was reacting to the statement attributed to Vice President Kashim Shettima who said the federal government spent N90 billion as subsidies for those going for pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

Peterside said it was a misplacement of priority and sent the wrong signal to prospective investors wishing to come to Nigeria.

According to him, “There is no religion that says if you cannot afford to go on pilgrimage, you must go, therefore there is no basis for subsidizing pilgrimage for anyone.”

He said that the decision is not about helping the poor, because, according to him, the kind of people who will dream of going for pilgrimage are not poor people, “they are middle class and upper middle class people,” he said, adding, “I can understand when you say you want to subsidise food for the poor or their education, this is basically subsidizing the middle class and upper middle class, who probably have some political connection.

“This N90 billion for hajj subsidy runs counter to the overall message the government is trying to send that it has come to correct the mistakes of the past. When you do these things you destroy confidence and you make prospective investors believe we are not serious.”

On the exchange rate, he said the depreciation of the naira and the exchange rate crisis are inherited from the previous government, noting that the present administration is just managing it.

He said he had always believed that the right exchange rate is N1500 to the dollar and then gradually it will stabilise at N1300 to the dollar.

“There is no need rushing to bring it down to N1100 to the dollar, it should have been N1300, try and keep it at a level you can manage to achieve stability, and stop doing things that frighten investors like throwing N90 billion to hajj and buying SUVs and other luxury cars for legislators and other government officials,” he said.

Peterside said he does not believe that the naira is under valued at 1300 to the dollar. “People don’t seem to know the quantum of naira that was printed by the former government. It is not the time to appreciate the naira in a hurry, that is not going to work,” he noted.

Speaking on the economic policies of this administration, Prterside said the direction of the monetary policy and the overall fiscal policy of subsidy removal are on the right track.

“But what the government is doing that is on the wrong track is the huge fiscal indiscipline that comes out from the top every now and then,” he said.

“It is not enough for the finance minister and then CBN governor to do the right thing and you are playing politics destroying what they are trying to do. What we want is not policy somersaults and reversals. There should be fiscal discipline otherwise we are not going anywhere.”

On inflation, he noted that if the exchange had remained stable at N1300 for at least one year, inflation would have come down if the government was doing the right thing.





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