As the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) threatened to crack down on illegal users of foreign exchange (forex) in the country, it says it has resumed weekly sales of $100 million to Small and Medium Enterprises(SMEs) as well as parents paying school fees abroad.
This was disclosed by its spokesman, Mr Isaac Okorafor, in a statement made available to the media Wednesday.
According to him, the apex bank has “resumed provision of forex to all commercial banks for onward sales to parents wishing to pay school fees and SMEs wishing to make essential imports needed to revamp economic activities across the country.
“In view of the gradual easing of the COVID 19 lockdown , both globally and in Nigeria, the CBN is resuming the provision of over $100million per week for both categories,” he added.
Following the lockdown occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic, the apex bank had to suspend the sales of dollars to the Bureaux De Change (BDC) operators, although it was a request sought by the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) for market holidays.
But Okorafor announced that the CBN has also made complete arrangements to resume foreign exchange sales to the BDC segment for business travels, personal travels, and other designated retail uses, as soon as international flights resume.
“With these actions, the CBN wishes to reiterate that it is adequately meeting the needs of all legitimate users, and our continued capacity to do so should not be in doubt. There is therefore no need for panic by any end-user that could necessitate recourse to illegitimate sources and spike in foreign exchange rates. Given this, the bank has ramped up its surveillance of the foreign exchange markets for speculators, smugglers and other illegal users, and will take decisive actions against anyone/institutions involved in such nefarious activities,” he added.
Last Friday, the dollar was sold for N450 in the parallel market to expose the shallow depth and dry reflection of the fforex market.
The depreciation was attributed to the crash of the crude oil prices at the international market
Commenting on the development, the ABCON President, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, said the N450/$ rate that closed last week was a reflection of the shallowness and dryness of the market coupled with the impact of trading on the FMDQ market on future derivatives and the negative territory of our crude oil prices.
“The crash of Naira rate in the parallel market to a high of N450/$ yesterday (Friday) was as a result of the shallowness and dryness of the market.,It is our resolve to enhance liquidity in the foreign exchange market and help discover a true market exchange rate that is devoid of speculative and hoarding activities.”