A record low of N282 to the US Dollar on the unofficial market on Monday was reached by the Naira after the Nigerian Central Bank (NCB) announced that it would stop sales to non-bank foreign exchange operators, especially bureaux de change operators.
Just today, it has hit an all new value of N300 to the US Dollar. Governor of the NCB Godwin Emefiele said foreign reserves stood at around $28 billion compared with $37 billion in June 2014, and that the bureaux de change operators were depleting them at a rate of $28.4 million per week.
“This is a huge hemorrhage on our scarce foreign exchange reserves, and cannot continue,” Emefiele told a news conference in the capital Abuja.
The decision to allow commercial banks to accept cash deposits of foreign currency reverses the restriction imposed last year when such deposits were banned in order to curb currency speculation.
It comes days after a visit by the head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, who told lawmakers that the IMF does not support foreign exchange restrictions.