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Last night I was on a casual call with a personal friend and client. At the terminal point of the dialogue I cursorily asked how her business was going. I have known her for 10 years going back to our time as college colleagues and she rarely, if ever, complained. “Bukky” has always been sanguine with an auspicious outlook on life.
Well, not this time though. She narrated, with poignantly tangible concern, how the plummeting strength of the Naira in the parallel market was proving problematic to her business operations. Nigeria is currently facing a foreign exchange crisis following the CBN foreign exchange ban on BDC’s, with parallel market rates of the US dollar hitting as high as 570 Naira. The rate of depreciation is a source of major concern to Nigerians in general and importers in particular.
Bukky operates a fitness and sports apparel business and she lamented over how the high cost of the dollar was threatening to what had hitherto been a solid profit margin.
“Michael it will come to a point when it won’t be realistic to import things into this country,” she said. While that seems a bit of a stretch, it must not be trivialised as a probable outcome even in the fringes of possibilities. The year Bukky was born, the US Dollar traded for around 22 Naira. Less than three decades later and it has depreciated by an astonishing 2500%.
Let’s put that number in context. In mean terms, the strength of the naira has dropped by 92.6 percent every year for the past 30 decades. Bukky is not isolated in the national ordeal, we are in one way or the other affected by this ominous circumstance. But that is about as far as the bad news goes.
Bukky is currently preparing for her GRE’s, has already secured an admission for a Master’s program in the US and is working towards getting admitted to a top US college with full funding. That’s the good news. But it gets even better. JAPAFORA is there to guide her in whatever way possible, which effectively guarantees that come next Fall, Bukky for don JAPA !!!
I told Bukky, “You’ve given nearly three decades of your life to Nigeria, it is about time you chase your dreams and secure your future.” For a few, that future lies beyond Nigeria.