CBN seen unable to halt naira slide – Reuters

LAGOS, July 22 (Reuters) – Looking at laptop cables stashed at his shop in Nigeria’s biggest IT market, wholesaler Emmanuel Gabriel wonders how long he can survive the hard currency shortages that are paralyzing Africa’s biggest economy.

The central bank had entrepreneurs like him in mind when abandoned an overvalued naira peg last month as low oil exports, the country’s lifeline, have hammering the currency and public finances.

The bank hoped that allowing the currency to lose a third of its value would attract investment and erase the need for a black market, where the naira has fallen versus the dollar some 40 percent.

But a month since the float Gabriel and most vendors in the market still have to buy dollars for a premium to import the laptops, TV sets and computer software they sell.

They will be looking to central bank governor Godwin Emefiele for answers on how to address a worsening shortage of dollars at a news conference on Tuesday.

“We thought it (the float) would affect the price of forex in Nigeria but instead of coming down it went up,” said Gabriel, sitting in his one-room store in Lagos’s Computer Village, home to hundreds of IT shops.

“When you call the banks they say there are no dollars so we go to the black market,” he said. “Today we sell a product for 4,000 naira, tomorrow for 5,000.”