From Uche Usim, Abuja
Following the rapidly-rising demand for foreign exchange for both goods and services by Nigerians, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assured Nigerians that it was tackling the scarcity nightmare, even as it advised against succumbing to the speculative activities of some players in the exchange market.
The naira witnessed an unprecedented crash in the last 72 hours, exchanging for N710/$1, in what analysts described as a death knell on the economy.
However, the Director, Corporate Communications at the CBN, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, while speaking with newsmen in Abuja on Friday, said the apex bank remained committed to resolving the foreign exchange issues confronting the nation and as such has been working to manage both the demand and supply side challenges.
While admitting that there was huge demand pressure for foreign exchange to meet the needs of manufacturers as well as those for the payment of tuition, medical fees and other invisibles, Nwanisobi said the Bank was concerned about the international value of the naira, adding that the monetary authority was strategizing to help Nigeria earn more stable and sustainable inflows of foreign exchange in the face of dwindling inflows from the oil sector.
Specifically, he noted that recent initiatives undertaken by the Bank such as the RT200 FX Programme and the Naira4Dollar rebate scheme had helped to increase foreign exchange inflow to the country. According to him, the Bank’s records showed that foreign exchange inflow through the RT200 FX Programme in the first and second quarters of 2022 increased significantly to about US$600 million as at June 2022. Similarly, he disclosed that the Naira4Dollar incentive also increased the volume of Diaspora remittances during the first half of the year.
Continuing, he said interventions such as 100 for 100 Policy on Production and Productivity, Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) and the Non-Oil Export Stimulation Facility (NESF), among others, were also geared towards diversifying the economy, enhancing inflow of foreign exchange, Stimulating production and reducing foreign exchange demand pressure.
Nwanisobi, therefore, assured that the Bank would continue to make deliberate efforts in the foreign exchange sector to avert further downward slide in the value of the naira, which he observed was fuelled by speculative tendencies.
Reiterating an earlier position of the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, he urged Nigerians to play their role by adjusting their consumption patterns, looking inwards and finding innovative solutions to the country’s challenges. He submitted that Monetary policy alone could not bear all the burden of the expected adjustments needed to manage the challenges around Nigeria’s foreign exchange and admonished that: “It’s our collective duty as Nigerians to shore up the value of the Naira”.