The Central Bank of Nigeria injected $3.36bn into the foreign exchange market in two months as part of efforts to ensure the stability of the naira.
Figures obtained from the CBN’s January monthly report on ‘Foreign Exchange Market Developments’ showed that $1.71bn and $1.65bn were injected in December 2021 and January 2022 respectively.
The report said, “Total foreign exchange sales to authorised dealers by the Bank was $1.65bn in January, representing a decrease of 3.1 per cent, relative to $1.71bn in December 2021.
“A breakdown shows that foreign exchange sales at the Small and Medium Enterprises window, interbank/invisible foreign exchange sales and matured swaps contracts rose by 24.4 per cent, 25.9 per cent, and 60.8 per cent to $0.14bn, $0.18bn and $0.21bn, respectively, in January, relative to the amount in December 2021.
The CBN stopped forex intervention through the Bureau de Change segment of the market in 2021 and said it would stop further interventions through the banks by the end of 2022.
Experts have, however, decried the unprecedented rate of oil theft recorded in recent times and its debilitating impact on government revenue and accretion to the country’s external reserves, which are used to defend the naira value.
President, Association of Bureau de Change Operators of Nigeria, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, said it was difficult for the naira to be strong because a lot of parameters were against it.
He said, “Our balance of trade is in deficit, our balance of payments is insufficient, our export commodity is low, so tell me, which currency can be strong with these negative parameters? Is the reserve big to accommodate any shock? It is not?”
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, after a meeting with the Bankers’ Committee recently, said to boost forex supply in the country through the non-oil sector in the next three to five years, it had launched the ‘RT200 FX Programme’.
Emefiele said after careful consideration of the available options and wide consultation with the banking community, it launched the Bankers’ Committee RT200 FX Programme which stood for the “Race to $200bn in FX repatriation.