The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) may have concluded plans to offer for sale a minimum of $650 million weekly in the next five months.
This, according to a source at the apex bank is aimed at shoring up the value of the local currency, the naira.
The highest amount the CBN has ever pushed through the foreign exchange market has been $350 million and that was not even regular.
The measure would also help in easing the backlog of dollar demand, which some dealers and buyers have been raising issues over since November 2016.
Last Wednesday, the apex bank directed all commercial lenders to bid in a special currency auction targeted at clearing the backlog of dollar obligations for the manufacturing, airlines, agriculture and petroleum sector.
It also insisted that erring banks in submission of records of sales and targeted sector would be sanctioned, including being banned from participation in the interbank market.
Mr. Isaac Okorafor, CBN spokesman said a number of banks had already received queries on their past deal on the foreign exchange market, but refused to name them.
Reports say the CBN’s plan to sell more dollars periodically is the first major effort that could see to the recovery of lost ground of naira, which since January has been exchanging for about N497 to a dollar at the parallel market and N398 at the interbank market.
Government officials maintain that Nigeria’s recession, caused mainly by the oil price drop and crisis of the Niger Delta region, has caused scarcity of dollars needed to fund imports and other economic activities.
The attempts at borrowing from international institutions and governments have not been possible, as a result of lack of an economic blue print to guarantee recovery of the facility.
As a means of assistance the oil cartel, OPEC, has exempted Nigeria from oil output cuts, but that is yet to yield the needed results.
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