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FG yet to determine takeoff date for Yuan deal



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The takeoff date for the proposed currency swap between Nigeria and China is being kept under wraps.

Investigation by Ripples at the relevant government agencies including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Ministry of Finance, and Foreign Affairs revealed that they are yet to get the necessary policy briefs from the Federal Government on when the new policy regime would commence.

A source at the Ministry of Finance who spoke at the weekend said the date for the takeoff has not been discussed by the minister.

“I’m not aware if a date has been fixed or not. I think the CBN will be in the right position to know,” the source said.

Another source in CBN, who would not be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media, said the essence of the agreement signed between the two countries is to smoothen bilateral relations and ultimately help to reduce the pressure on the dollar.

“I can’t say for certain that I know the takeoff date. But you know the way government works. I know the countries are trying to work out a suitable exchange rate such that would we can avoid conversion risks of the past when importers from Nigeria had to convert naira to dollars and subsequently to Yuan when they have to import from China.

I think the whole idea is to expedite business transaction and ensure quick turnaround,” the source said.

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Speaking with Ripples on Saturday, Mr. Akinremi Bolaji, spokesman of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, said the details are not clear yet.

“You know that the honourable minister has spoken much on this subject. As far as I know there is no date that has been announced for this yet. This will be known officially when it is ready,” he said.

Pressed further, he said: “The details are still being worked out. The minister said Nigeria and China are still to fine-tune the process. The Chinese government has been on this matter for sometime now. All they want is make Ghana or Nigeria the hub in the West African sub region. Once the finer points of the details are ironed out the whole thing will be made public. That’s all I can say.”

It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari while on a state visit to Beijing led a delegation to the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC), the world’s biggest lender, where the CBN signed a deal on Yuan transactions.

CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has expressed optimism that the agreement reached between Nigeria and China on a currency swap will strengthen the naira and help reduce the strong demand for the US dollar in the country.

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