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Naira appreciates to N1,280/$, as CBN slashes Customs duty rate by 2.9%

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…Nigeria implements key reforms to stabilise FX marke

By Sodiq Adelakun

Naira has continued in its upward trajectory, appreciating against the US dollar as it is currently selling at N1,280 on the parallel market, buoyed by recent foreign exchange (FX) policy adjustments by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Recall that the latest exchange rate reflects a remarkable gain of 2.34 percent in less than one day, compared to the closing rate of N1,310 observed on Wednesday.

Notably, the naira has surged by 42.58 percent against the dollar since February 20, 2024, when it hit its lowest point of N1,825/$ on the parallel market, commonly referred to as the black market.

The official market also witnessed an uptick in the value of the naira, with the currency rising to N1,300.43 against the dollar.

This increase follows a significant surge in dollar supply, which rose by 69.43 percent on Wednesday. These developments come on the heels of the Central Bank’s decision to raise key interest rates, signaling efforts to stabilise the foreign exchange market and bolster the local currency.

The appreciation of the naira signifies positive sentiment and confidence in the country’s economic policies, with investors and market participants responding favorably to recent measures implemented by the CBN.

As the naira continues to strengthen, stakeholders anticipate enhanced stability in the forex market and improved macroeconomic conditions, which could stimulate investment and economic growth in Nigeria.

The naira has been appreciating against the dollar recently following some foreign exchange reforms by the Central Bank of Nigeria (MPC).

In a bid to enhance stability and transparency in Nigeria’s foreign exchange market, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced a series of key reforms.

These reforms encompass various aspects, including the unification of exchange rate windows, liberalisation of the FX market, and clearance of FX backlog obligations for banks and airlines.

Among the significant measures introduced is the implementation of a Price Verification System (PVS) aimed at ensuring fair pricing mechanisms.

Additionally, the CBN has imposed limits on banks’ Net Open Position and removed the daily cap on remunerable Standing Deposit Facility (SDF), providing more flexibility in liquidity management.

Furthermore, the overhaul of the Bureau De Change (BDC) segment is highlighted, focusing on bolstering stability, transparency, supply, and price discovery within the Nigeria Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market.

In efforts to foster a more efficient market, additional measures include the introduction of a two-way quote system and the elimination of margin limits for International Money Transfer Operator (IMTO) remittances.

Under these reforms, the CBN has sold dollars to Bureau De Change (BDC) operators at a rate of N1,251, with directives for them to sell.

Money market

LCCI advocates discipline, export to sustain Naira appreciation

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LCCI advocates discipline, export to sustain Naira appreciationThe Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has emphasised the importance of maintaining discipline in the foreign exchange market to sustain the steady appreciation of the Naira.

The President and Chairman of the Council of LCCI, Mr Gabriel Idahosa, made the call in an interview with newsmen on Wednesday in Lagos.

Idahosa praised the efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria in imposing discipline, attributing the recent Naira appreciation to curbing speculative activities.

“On the monetary side, the CBN is doing it. The primary efforts should continue to impose discipline in the foreign currency market.

“The abuses in the foreign currency market were prevalent and most of the fall in the value of the Naira in the last six months is not because there was any sudden calamity in the Nigerian economy.

“It was primarily because of very reckless speculations, that people were just speculating in the dollar, they had nothing to export, nothing to import, they were just buying the dollar for speculative reasons.

“And once the Central Bank started to impose discipline in the foreign currency market, we saw the value of the Naira rising very quickly by stopping speculation,” he said.

According to him, the strategies of the Central Bank, now, are designed to achieve a sustained discipline in the foreign currency market.

Idahosa highlighted the need to continue reducing the number of Bureau de Change operators, stressing that many operated without contributing to international trade.

He applauded the Central Bank’s move to enforce documentation and identification of buyers and sellers at BDCs, aiming to deter reckless speculation and curb illicit financial flows.

On the fiscal side, Idahosa urged President Bola Tinubu to prioritise a nationwide export drive, citing it as the key to bolstering the Naira and providing essential foreign exchange.

He emphasised the importance of fostering a culture of export among Nigerians across all scales of enterprise to reduce reliance on imports and strengthen the country’s economic resilience.

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Money market

Foreign reserves decline to $32.29bn

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The foreign reserve has depleted to $32.29 billion, which is a six-year low in the Central Bank’s course to save the naira.

This is the lowest level the reserves have been since September 25, 2017, when it was $32.28 billion.

The country’s foreign reserves declined by 6.2 percent, losing $2.6 billion since March 18, when the naira started its rebound from record-low levels against the dollar to $32.29 billion as of Monday, based on the latest available data from the CBN.

At the beginning of the month, the reserve was at $33.57 billion, then further dipped to $32.6 billion by April 12.

This comes as the CBN has attempted to save the naira through various interventions such as raising interest rates to 24.75 percent and managing foreign exchange trades.

It stepped up its intervention in the FX market with sales at both the official market and to BDC operators who sell dollars on the streets.

The apex bank, which sells $10,000 to each BDC every week, mandated them to only sell at a spread of 1.5 percent, which comes to N1,117 per US dollar.

The rate sold by the BDCs has set a defacto floor for the naira in the black market since the apex bank resumed sales to them in February.

Also, last month the CBN said it had cleared a backlog of $7 billion since the beginning of the year. That was built over the years as the central bank pegged its currency against the dollar, leading to a scarcity of foreign currency that deterred foreign portfolio investment. However, it’s unclear how much dollar debt the CBN retains on its books.

Akpan Ekpo, a professor of economics and public policy, said the CBN’s managed float system in which it is trying to ensure supply and curtail demand is not sustainable in the long term.

He said the CBN needs to be careful with how it depletes the foreign reserves as its main source is oil revenue.

“We need to manufacture non-oil goods and services, export them, and get foreign exchange and not depend on oil income,” he said.

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Money market

CBN expresses commitment to harnessing digital technologies

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The Central Bank of Nigeria says it is committed to harnessing the power of digital technologies to enhance financial inclusion.

CBN Governor, Mr Yemi Cardoso said this on Tuesday in Abuja, during a strategic institutions tour by participants of Senior Executive Course 46 of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS).

Cardoso, who was represented by Dr Bala Bello, Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, said that digital technologies would also boost productivity and create an enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive.

According to him, the apex bank has already deployed robust digital technologies in driving most of its processes towards achieving optimal performance.

He said that NIPSS, as a foremost national policy think-tank, had made invaluable contributions to the socio-political and macroeconomic development of Nigeria.

“We are, therefore, not surprised at the apt and relevant choice of your research theme.

“The CBN and NIPSS have had a long-standing and robust working relationship since the establishment of the institute. This has culminated into positive mutual benefits for the two institutions.

“The CBN, on the one hand, has provided infrastructural support to the institute through construction of an auditorium and a hostel, in addition to the provision of technical support.

“On the other hand, NIPSS has supported the technical capacity of the CBN through the training of some personnel both at senior executive course level and intermediate course cadre,” he said.

The Director-General of NIPSS, Prof. Ayo Omotayo, said that the study visiting would be representing the institute in getting information from operators of the apex bank on the relevance of digital technology to developing jobs for Nigerian youths.

According to Omotayo, a lot of progress has been made globally in using digital systems to run the economy.

“The more of our activities that we can put in digital format, the more we get the opportunity of providing employment access to a whole lot of the 120 million active Nigerians.

“We at NIPSS always knock at the frontiers of knowledge, checking what is going to happen in the immediate future.

“We are working towards a system where we believe that almost every service can be delivered digitally,” he said.

The Acting Director, Monetary Policy Department of the CBN, Dr Lafi Bala Keffi, commended the NIPSS study group for its interest in the apex bank.

She urged the participants to explore the time-tested culture of NIPSS, which is to diagnose national, profer practical solutions and recommend ways of making such solutions realisable.

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