Trade War Looming: Nigerian Currency Call to Question

Brazil is warning that, because of manipulation of currencies by some countries, a dangerous Trade War is in the offing. World trade can never really be in equilibrium because of many factors. Some of which are varying countries' standard of living, culture, import tariff, exchange rate mechanism, and cost of production, which includes price of labour. However, the establishment of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was to balance, to a lesser extent, the inequality in production vis a vis cross-border trade.

The economy of the world would have been more in equilibrium were it to have just one currency. In that utopian state, inflation would have disappeared from the dictionary, maybe. Different national interest, however, means that that dream will remain only a dream for as long as there are politicians in existence. Let's face it: the brunt of currency manipulation is borne by only one class of the populace, and that is the working class, who gets paid in wages expressed in that manipulated currency.

The Nigerian experience is a pathetic one. Twenty four years and three four months (292 months) ago, the Nigerian currency, the naira, got divorced from the U.S. dollar (the common world trade currency). Thus, the naira, from that day, became a target for manipulation. Unfortunately, the move has been against the national interest of Nigeria, except the interests of few are redefined to mean the interests of the many Nigerians who have been consigned to live with less than a dollar a day. The most affected body is Labour, but alas; that organisation is the most ignorant.

From the day, the naira got a divorce from the almighty dollar, it has seen it's membership decimated constantly and it's influence diminished. Yet, the movement has never for one day call for a review of the currency policy. Instead, it has, on a constant basis, go cap in hand to ask for the upping of its ever diminishing wages - a function of the manipulated naira. The other day, it threatened a showdown unless the minimum wage is upped to a mere $150.00 a month - a pity. The manipulated naira, singlehandedly wiped out the middle class in Nigeria, in spite of Nigeria's oil revenue. The efforts of Nigerians, toiling relentlessly, continue to tend towards zero because of this currency manipulation.

The unfortunate inflation has always taken the blame, as would be expected from politicians, the IMF and the World Bank. Nigeria's oil revenue has been huge and should have been a buffer against any inequality in world trade and the dilution of our standard of living, but instead it has pauperised the majority of Nigerians. The naira remains manipulated to the pleasure of the West, as it silences Nigeria's voice on the world stage. Somebody said that Washington is holding Nigeria by the jugular. Discussions about the exchange rate mechanism is off-limit, according to the source. Nigeria may lose a major buyer of it's oil, should it tamper with the deregulation of the naira.

China is enough headache in world trade because of the country's pegging of the yuan to the U.S. dollar and for another potential China to contemplate a pegging of its local currency to the U.S. dollar, it may create a chain of events the end of which, according to our own late Chief Anthony Enahoro, nobody will be able to conjecture. This should be the basis for who leads the country next - instead of the geographical birth location of the candidates. We always easily get carried away by irrelevancies. Who is willing to be the Nigeria's Moses to face Pharaoh (the West) and beg to let my people go ? Remember, the biblical Moses did not make the promise land. Mm! Will any Nigerian, born yet, including moi, be willing to be a Moses? Please forgive my pessimism.

Samuel Akinyele Caulcrick, Zaria, Kaduna State.