Nigerian Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi said on Monday he did not believe that the naira was over-valued and criticised advice from the IMF, which last week recommended greater exchange rate flexibility.
We do not believe that the naira is over-valued ... We do not believe that at a time when the oil price is going up and output is going up we should be losing the value of our currency, Sanusi told CNBC Africa television.
We also do not think that it makes sense, if the IMF is concerned about inflation, to ask a country that is import dependent to devalue its currency ... So the advice given by the IMF, frankly, is not based on sound economic logic.
The IMF issued a statement last Thursday after its latest round of consultations with Nigeria, in which it noted foreign reserves had been falling and speculation against the naira could become intense if the depletion continued.
Sanusi said the International Monetary Fund had gone ahead and published the advice without giving Nigeria's position.
He said he agreed with the IMF's assessment that further monetary tightening may be required if inflationary pressures continue, but said it was naive to believe that monetary policy alone could rein in rising prices.
He noted that expansion in credit to the private sector remained weak despite an accommodative monetary policy.
The link between monetary policy and inflation is at best tenuous, it is theoretical. The reality is that the bulk of inflation is being pushed by structural forces, Sanusi said.
So we do agree that we should tighten, but we think the IMF is a bit naive in its overestimation of the potency of monetary variables in the short term, he said.