Nigeria’s Buhari rejects devaluation, says he ’won’t kill’ naira

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari stood firm in rejected calls to devalue the currency of Africa’s top oil producer, saying that he wouldn’t “kill the naira.”

Letting the currency fall would only result in higher inflation and cause hardship for poor- and middle-class Nigerians, Buhari said on Wednesday, according to an e-mailed statement from his spokesman Garba Shehu.

“President Buhari said that proponents of devaluation will have to work much harder to convince him that ordinary Nigerians will gain anything from it,” Shehu said. “The president added that he had no intention of bringing further hardship on the country’s poor who, he said, have suffered enough already.”

The central bank of Africa’s largest economy has pegged the naira at 197-199 per dollar since March to stem its slide amid a rout in oil prices, which has slowed economic growth. The policy has led to a shortage of foreign-exchange in the country and been widely criticized by investors and businesses.

The black market rate has plunged as Nigerians have become desperate for foreign currency, falling to a record 306 per dollar this week.

 – Bloomberg