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The Nigerian naira is the currency of Nigeria. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is the sole issuer of legal tender money throughout the Federation. In 1973, the naira was replaced by the pound at a rate of 2 naira = 1 pound.
Economic and currency experts have expressed divergent views over the outlook of the naira this year.
While some said the naira would experience further decline at the parallel market this year, others said the volatility noticed in the exchange rate last year would not continue this year.
A currency analyst at Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Kunle Ezun, said the naira would continue to depreciate at the parallel market while the CBN would keep managing the official rate around 305/dollar.
According to Mr. Bismarck Rewane, one dollar to the naira would depreciate to N520/$ at the parallel market this year.
An economic expert, Henry Boyo, equally predicted that 1 dollar to the naira will hit 1000/dollar on the parallel market this year if the Central Bank of Nigeria fails to review its monetary policy framework.
Mr Wale Olusi says: “If the CBN continues with its exchange rate policy thrust and the Presidency keeps fighting devaluation, the naira [to dollar exchange rate in the black market will decline] further above 500 to something near 520 this year.”
Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Sunday April 2nd, 2017 reiterated its determination to sustain the provision of foreign exchange (forex) with a view to ensuring liquidity in the market and enhance accessibility and affordability for genuine end users.
The apex bank’s acting Director, Corporate Communications; Mr Isaac Okorafor in a statement on Sunday said the bank wants to disabuse the notion by market speculators that it wouldn’t be able to sustain its forex intervention.
He said that the bank would again, early this week, inject more foreign exchange into the market, leading to a further weakening of the dollar.
“This is in addition to the further increase in the sale of dollars to the Bureau de change operators from 8,000 dollars to 10,000 dollars per week,’’ he said.
Okorafor warned commercial banks and other dealers to desist from sabotaging the efforts aimed at making life easier for foreign exchange end users.
According to Okorafor, the CBN had received complaints from customers over frustrations in getting foreign exchange for invisible items like tuition fee, medicals, personal and basic travel allowance.
The Bank urged the general public to report it to any bank that failed to meet customers’ needs after due documentation.
It once again reiterated its determination to deal with any official or institution found to be sabotaging the operations of foreign exchange market in whatever guise.
The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on Monday, April 3rd, 2017 injected $90 million to meet requests by bank customers, in its bid to sustain the supply of foreign exchange and ensure liquidity in the market.
The spokesperson of the bank, Isaac Okorafor, who confirmed the figure, said the fresh release is to meet invisibles such as basic and personal transport allowances, medical bills and school fees.
Invisibles are those items in the export trade that are untouchable, like movement of money and family, including BTAs, medical bills, plant and machinery as well as finished products.
Besides, Mr. Okorafor said the CBN also offered additional $150 million to authorised FOREX dealers in the interbank wholesale auction window to meet their customers’ demand.
The CBN spokesperson said the bank was optimistic that latest $150 million offered to authorised FOREX dealers in the interbank wholesale window would be enough to meet the requests of genuine wholesale customers.
On Tuesday, April 4th, 2017 traders at the Nigeria foreign exchange market said the intervention by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the different segments of the foreign exchange market was driving the strengthening of the naira against the dollar.
Aminu Gwadabe, the President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) had predicted the appreciation of the naira as BDCs set to receive more diaspora remittances.
Mr. Gwadabe said the improved inflows of diaspora remittances into the economy in spite of falling oil prices would fast-track rates convergence and unification.
On April 5, 2017, Gwadabe said that the additional injection of $10,000 by the CBN to BDCs would help to checkmate speculation.
Gwadabe said that CBN’s action justified its determination to continue to strengthen the Naira and get it out of the grips of speculators and hoarders.
NAN reports that CBN, last week, stated that it had increased the volume of Dollar sold to BDCs from 8,000 to 10,000 dollars bi-weekly.
The apex bank hoped to stabilise the Naira exchange rate through its interventions at the foreign exchange market.
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that the Nigerian Naira is overvalued by about 10% to 20%.
Gene Leon, who is IMF’s mission chief for Nigeria, stated that the IMF sees a need for a foreign exchange adjustment, in a bid avoid a disorderly depreciation of the naira.
“We do find there to be some over-valuation at this point of the naira, of the official currency, somewhere to the tune of 10 to 20 percent.
“During the past year, banking sector growth was dominated by the impact of a depreciating naira, given 45 percent of the banks’ loan book is in foreign currency,” the IMF staff report read.
“The depreciation of the naira may in some cases benefit those banks with FX assets that outweigh their FX obligations, through net valuation gain.
“However, FX risks either from a shortage of FX or further naira depreciation could also lead to defaults, which will increase required provisioning and reduce profits.
“With about 45 percent of loans and 40 percent of NPLs in foreign currency, a further depreciation of the naira by 50 percent would increase NPLs net of provisions to capital by 12 percentage point (from 28 to 40 percent)”.
On April 9, 2017, The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) auctioned $418 million at a marginal rate of 310 Naira to dollar, to airlines, agriculture, petroleum and raw materials sub-sectors.
The CBN acting Director, Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okorafor said in Abuja that the $480m offered last week was in addition to the $350 million sold at a wholesale auction for travel allowance and school fees at the same period.
He said that in the weeks ahead, the CBN would further sustain its intervention through the sale of foreign exchange to all segments of the market, like the interbank and the Bureau de Change segment.
“The Bank will sell short-tenured forwards of 7 to 30-day maturity to meet the demand of manufacturers and all other foreign exchange users.
“These significant injections of foreign exchange into the market should reassure all foreign exchange users of our determination to continue to meet all legitimate forex demand in the market,” he said.
On April 19, 2017 Vanguard survey revealed that the CBN sold $20,000 to 3,170 BDCs, amounting to $62 million supply into the segment.
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