Q&A | Buying Dollars to Sell Later? 🤔

Is there anything wrong with being a market speculator? Is there anything wrong in buying the Dollar in the hopes that the Naira will be devalued so I can sell at a higher price? In fact, can I borrow from GT Bank at 1.33% per month forecasting that in 2 months, the Naira would have been devalued by 11% so I can make gains?

Yemi Osinubi: I think this question is helpful for how we should view ourselves as Christians under a nation. First of all, I’ll say that you should never bet against your country. You should never do anything with the intention that your country will be harmed – never. We are not where we are by mistake. The book of Acts tells us that God placed us in our nation, with our parents and our families, so that we may seek Him and perhaps find Him, though He’s not far from us because in Him we live and move and have our being. This implies an intentionality about the family and nation you’re born in. As Christians, in many parts of scripture, we are referred to as aliens and pilgrims. Scripture says that our citizenship is in heaven and that we are temporarily here. It also calls us ambassadors representing God. Again, with that imagery of pilgrims, sojourners, and immigrants, look at the commands for even those in captivity: “…seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” – Jeremiah 29:7

For these people who were temporarily in exile, God wanted to preserve them so that when it was time, He would take them out of the land. He didn’t want them to suffer in the land in which they were pilgrims. And for us too, the Bible says we should pray for our leaders and people in authority so that we may live peaceful and godly lives and that the gospel may be spread abroad.  The reason why as Christians we want peace and not insecurity is not merely because we want comfort, it is so that we can preach and do the work of the gospel. So, those of us who are in peaceful environments but are not preaching the gospel, we’re missing a trick – we’re actually wasting a lot of time. All these are painting a picture of how we should look at our lives as Christians under a nation – we should want it to flourish and for things to be better.

Now, I want to talk very quickly about financial instruments. Financial instruments are neutral but how we use them matters. And with the way the question was posed, it speaks about economic classes. A market speculator is someone who essentially, because of bad economic policies of the country, says, “I’m not only going to exploit this situation but I’m also going to work against it to make a profit in there”. And this has been well-studied as in the case of the Asian Tigers: Thailand, Malaysia, and the other countries which involved George Soros, who is now the object of all kinds of conspiracy theories. Now, it’s true that the countries were a bit foolish in the way they were running their policies. But think about what happened after currency speculators attacked the Asian markets. They were destabilized and thrown into poverty and had to go to the IMF and World Bank for loans. It was hard for these countries for many years. How do you take a place where you rejoice in the fact that you made money off of that destruction?

Now, these same instruments are available for traders in that field. There are people who are referred to as hedgers – as opposed to speculators – who have investment portfolios that they desire to perform in a certain way. But because of these same bad economic policies, they anticipate that the value of their portfolio will fall in the future. So, they use these instruments to hedge that if the bad policies affect their assets, then they can make some money to recover. That’s a completely different mindset! Same instrument, and possibly similar positions, but the intentions are completely different.

So, to answer the question as someone who lives in Nigeria and is experiencing the hardships we face as a nation; if you have financial assets or investment portfolios and you anticipate that your kids may be going to school abroad down the line or you may be in business and want to import. You know, you need the dollars but then you know the economic policies are not very good; in this case, you can utilize what is in front of you to protect your portfolio by anticipating what may happen next year so that you can do what is needful for your family and business. That’s a completely different mindset from speculating and attacking, hoping to profit from the devaluation of the Naira, say in two months – that is unconscionable. It may not be illegal, but as Christians, we draw our morality and ethics from what the Bible says about how we ought to live our lives here on this planet. Therefore, I would say that you shouldn’t bet against your country. Rather, I would suggest that you look for a healthier way to protect yourself. Conceive a different way to use these instruments and come to a place where you can be at peace with God.

Answered by Yemi Osinubi, a leader in City Church.

[This transcript has been edited for easy readability]