Peterside denounces the FG’s N90 billion hajj subsidy

May 17, 2024 | Politics | 0 comments

Atedo Peterside, the founder of Stanbic IBTC Bank, has criticized the use of taxpayers’ money to subsidize pilgrimages. Speaking on the current affairs program Politics Today on Channels Television, Peterside responded to Vice President Kashim Shettima’s statement that the federal government spent N90 billion on subsidies for pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia.

Peterside denounced this allocation of funds as a misplacement of priorities, arguing that it sends the wrong signal to potential investors considering Nigeria. He emphasized that no religion mandates pilgrimage for those who cannot afford it, making subsidizing such trips unnecessary.

The banker highlighted that subsidizing pilgrimage primarily benefits the middle and upper-middle classes rather than people with low incomes. He criticized the decision as counterproductive to the government’s message of correcting past mistakes and fostering investor confidence.

Peterside, in his analysis of the exchange rate, attributed the depreciation of the naira to the previous administration, stating that the current government is managing the crisis. He advocated for a gradual stabilization of the exchange rate at around N1300 to the dollar, cautioning against rushing to reduce it to N1100. Peterside underlined the crucial need for fiscal discipline and criticized fiscal indiscipline from government officials, stressing its potential negative impact on the economy.

While Peterside acknowledged the government’s positive direction in monetary and fiscal policies, he cautioned against policy reversals and emphasized the importance of consistency and fiscal discipline for economic progress. He also reiterated that stable exchange rates, if accompanied by appropriate government actions, could contribute to reducing inflation, thereby fostering a sense of hope for a more stable economic future.

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