The United State government has declared the intention to pressurize the Nigerian government to adopt a softer stance against the dollar. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told an audience at the U.S. Institute of Peace that Nigeria should ensure that the value of the naira currency versus the U.S. dollar is "more realistic."
"While most people complain about the possibility of there being a devaluation, people are already operating on a devalued currency, and the only people who are not, are people who are doing it officially," Thomas-Greenfield said.
Thomas-Greenfield said the parallel currency market in Nigeria was "alive and well," warning that a rigid exchange rate, capital controls and import bans could undermine President Muhammadu Buhari's efforts to expand economic growth and fight corruption. Buhari has rejected the idea of devaluing the naira.
"Our recommendation is, and we will have discussions about it ... that they should look at the exchange rate and try to make the exchange rate more realistic to what the value of the naira is to the dollar," she added.
"Capital controls that limit access to foreign exchange rewards insiders and undermines the stated goals of Nigeria to increase domestic production because both Nigerian and expat investors alike tell us many businesses are unable to obtain the capital to purchase badly needed intermediate goods," she said.