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Emefiele: CBN’s Policies in Best Interest of Nigerians At This Time – Thisday

The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, yesterday offered insights into the prevailing economic crisis in the country, explaining that it was caused by the nation’s failure to diversify the base of its economy.

The CBN chief, who spoke in Abuja at the Annual Media Trust Dialogue, with the theme, “Beyond Recession: Towards a Resilient Economy,” also defended the monetary policies of the apex bank, saying they were made in the best interest of majority of Nigerians.
Panelists at the dialogue had come down heavily on the central bank’s monetary policies, arguing that they weighed heavily in favour of the few rich in the country.
They were particularly critical of its forex policy which allocates 60 percent of the nation’s forex to the manufacturing sector that they said accounts for only 10 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

At the parley were other prominent Nigerians, including the Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara; Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun; a former minister of Petroleum Resources, Chief Philip Asiodu; and the Chairman, Standard/IBTC, Mr. Atedo Peterside, who all proffered solutions to the nation’s biting economic hardship.

But Emefiele said the panelists’ perception of the CBN policies was wrong, submitting that the “policies were put in place to help Nigeria pull through the hard time.”
He said the forex policy was meant to stimulate the economy at a time of acute scarcity.

He explained that the country found itself in the present situation due to lack of appropriate commitment to economic diversification, especially when the earnings from oil were as high as $140 per barrel, just as he noted that earnings of the government had risen to as high as $3.2 billion and fell to about $500m per month recently.
According to the governor, there was also a time when the crude oil price stabilised at $105 per barrel over a period of five years.

“What did we do with the huge accretion to the reserves then?” he queried yesterday.
Emefiele therefore, counselled critics of the CBN and government policies that “priority will be given to Nigerian masses by managing the limited resources to provide for industrial raw materials, plants and equipment and agricultural inputs in order to create employment and generate wealth.”

One of the panelists, Mr. Atedo Peterside, had raised concern that the foreign exchange policy of the CBN was hurting business interests to which the CBN Governor responded that policy makers don’t make policies in isolation or are designed to hurt the citizenry but with the objectives to improve the life of all concerned and not just for a few powerful and rich individuals.

Many of the speakers at the dialogue, however, suggested radical and bi-partisan measures to build a vibrant economy.

They recommended that for the nation to overcome the recession and begin a trajectory of sound economic growth, it must, among others, go back to the era of rolling plans, embark on massive infrastructure development, and align fiscal and monetary policies efficiently.

In his opening remarks, Asiodu who was the chairman of the occasion, embarked on a historical journey, tracing the nation’s present economic stagnation to the abandonment of development planning.

He recalled that in the early ’70s, the Yakubu Gowon administration had a comprehensive development plan, which was jettisoned when former President Olusegun Obasanjo emerged as military head of state in 1976.

He recalled that successive administrations also abandoned development plans until the late Gen. Sani Abacha enunciated a broad economic plan, encapsulated under Vision 2010.

According to him, by 1998, all the institutions to galvanise efforts towards implementing the 2010 blueprint were already put in place by the Abacha administration.

That blueprint, he regretted, was also jettisoned by the civilian administration under former President Obasanjo in 1999.

Asiodu noted that the President Goodluck Jonathan government was to come up with Vision 2020 and the Transformation Agenda, which were not implemented to the letter.

He lamented that the lack of political will and commitment to pursue and implement development plans by past administrations set the stage for the deterioration of infrastructure, and brought the nation to the current economic quagmire.

Asiodu observed that in the first republic, Nigeria was at par with the Asian Tigers growth-wise because there were workable development plans.
He said it was wrong to look at the economic recession from the standpoint of oil and the precipitous fall in the price of the commodity.

Asiodu, who was also a former Chief Economic Adviser to former President Obasanjo, said the fall in the price of oil was not the cause of the nation’s problem, arguing that many African countries without oil were doing well.
He called for a national income policy, and underscored the desirability of such a policy with a flash back to when he was in government.

In her presentation, the Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, noted that lack of infrastructure had held the country down for too long, regretting that an abysmally low investment on infrastructure had been a trend over the years.

Adeosun lamented that the previous administrations missed the opportunity of investing massively on infrastructure, which she described as the bedrock of economic growth and development, when oil prices were very high.

She also debunked views that Nigeria is an oil economy, describing the notion as erroneous.
According to her, with a daily oil production of 2.2 million barrels of oil per day (mbpd) for a population of about 180 million people, compared to Saudi Arabia’s 10 mbpd for a 30 million population, Nigeria cannot be described as an oil economy.

The minister stated that poor investment on infrastructure, corruption and inability to foresee the future when oil prices were high led to the current economic recession.

She noted that the present administration was desirous of navigating the country out of past mistakes and launch it into a sustainable economic growth, anchored on massive infrastructure.
Investment in infrastructure, she noted, was the key to the nation’s industrialisation.

In his presentation, the Chairman of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr. Atedo Peterside observed that while the present administration was doing some things right, it was equally taking many wrong steps, noting that there was a reluctance on the part of the government to break away from the past.

According to him, the Buhari administration has just this year to make an impact on the economic landscape and the general well-being of the nation as politicking would dominate the scene from 2018.

He listed some of the challenges of the administration as the inability to take bold, holistic and audacious approach to harmonise fiscal and monetary policies to attain sound economic outcomes.

Peterside said the government’s monetary and economic policies were at best unclear, citing the existence of multiple forex regimes and half-hearted policy on deregulation, among others.

On what he listed as 11 items he considered as the grey areas that government did not do well, he said not resolving the Niger Delta agitation expeditiously was a major undoing, which had dire economic consequences for the country.

That, he said, led to a $6 billion monthly revenue loss, even as he picked hole in the lack of will for the full deregulation of the downstream sector.
He also pooh-poohed the CBN forex policy, particularly its directive to the banks to allocate 60 per cent of their FX resources to the manufacturing sector.

Peterside said it was wrong to allocate 60 per cent FX to a sector that accounts for about 10 per cent of GDP and leave a mere 40 per cent to all the other sectors, adding that it engendered a huge distortionary trend, created panic in the system and led to the disappearance of forex inflows.

He also stated that shying away from the political restructuring of the nation was a serious mistake on the part of the government adding that irrespective of how unpalatable the concept might sound to some people, it was a necessity.

While calling for an open mind on the issue, Peterside, who punctuated every point with “because I love my country,” noted that less than 25 per cent of the nation’s 36 states were economically viable.

In his keynote address, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, said he was optimistic the economy would come out of the recession soon, adding that the National Assembly was collaborating with the executive to turn the economy around.

He regretted that lack of development plans was the nation’s bane, adding that wasting resources to plan and not implementing such plans was wrong.

Dogara noted that while the federal government was tackling terrorism, it was disturbing that other security challenges, including armed robbery, kidnapping and other vices were on the prowl.
He regretted that attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) would be difficult in such an atmosphere.

We simply can’t allow the naira to float, says Osinbajo – The Cable

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo says the government cannot simply allow the naira to float, but admits that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has confidence in floating the local currency.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday, Osinbajo said the government is in talks with the CBN to fully implement the “free-float” foreign exchange policy, but it cannot put a time on the “logical conclusion” of the talks.

“It is difficult to give a timing about currency movements as you can imagine, but what it is really is that what is the policy that is going to lead to that?” Osinbajo asked.

“We already have a foreign exchange policy. Now, that policy, that is the point I have been making all along, that stabilising that policy, ensuring that it works fully, is really what we are trying to get to, in our interactions with the central bank, which of course is independent.

“We are trying to get them to see that you need to implement this policy fully. Central bank of course has its own constraints; we have to be careful.

“We simply can’t allow the currency to float; we have to look at all of the market conditions and all of that. But really, the point we are making is that we must create the environment which will help the Central Bank as well.

“That will come from an increasing supply of dollars from oil exportation. Once we have more dollars, Central Bank obviously has more confidence in floating the currency.”

Osinbajo also said the government would be launching its economic turnaround plan in February 2017, which would span another four years.

“We would formally launch the four-year economic recovery approved plan in mid-February.,” he said.

“We’ve already written it out, many parts of it…we are discussing, but it would be formally launched as a document in the middle of February.

“But our 2017 budget is actually based on the economic recovery approved plan. We had strategic implementation plan, which we started with in 2016. The economic recovery approved plan is actually a development of the strategic implementation plan.”

External reserves rise to $27.3bn – Punch

Oyetunji Abioye

The country’s external reserves, which have been increasing significantly in recent weeks, rose to $27.3bn on January 17 from $26.9bn on January 13, the latest data from the Central Bank of Nigeria showed on Wednesday. 

The reserves had risen to $26.968bn on January 13 from $26.765bn on January 11, having hit $26.658bn and $26.552bn on January and 10 and January 11, respectively.

Within the space of 11 days, the reserves rose by $1bn, increasing from $26.3bn on January 6 to $27.3bn on January 17, the central bank statistics revealed.

Similarly, the foreign exchange reserves jumped from $25.3bn on December 22, 2016 to $27.3bn on January 17.

Within the space of three days, the reserves rose by $300m from $26.2bn on January 6 to $26.5bn on January 9.

Between December 30, 2016 and January 12, 2017, the foreign exchange reserves rose from $25.8bn to $26.8bn, indicating an accretion of $1bn in two weeks, the CBN data showed.

Following the gradual increase in crude oil price and production output, the foreign exchange reserves have been rising steadily since December.

Experts said the slowdown in foreign exchange allocation to forex markets by the CBN might have contributed to the reserves accretion.

The foreign exchange reserves had hit $26.0bn on January 3, 2017, up from $25.8bn on December 30, 2016, the CBN statistics revealed.

The reserves ended last year with $25.84bn on December 30, 2016.

The foreign exchange reserves had risen to over four-month high of $25.7bn on December 28, up from $25.4bn on December 23.

However, currency and economic experts are not sure if the current accretion in the external reserves’ is sustainable amid a falling naira and acute shortage of dollar in the foreign exchange markets and the economy.

The CBN had spent $4bn from the nation’s external reserves to defend the local currency in the last 12 months, despite the staggering fall in the value of the naira against the United States dollar and other major foreign currencies last year.

The controversial defence of the naira by the CBN has come under severe criticism from economists, who believe that the forces of demand and supply should be allowed to determine the exchange rate of the naira, at least to a considerable level.

The country’s reserves had recorded $23.89bn low on October 19.  The reserves dropped by 15.9 per cent between 2015 and 2016

Nigeria raises local currency bonds at yields below inflation – Reuters

LAGOS Jan 19 (Reuters) – Nigeria has raised 214.95 billion naira ($704.18 mln) in local currency bonds at its first auction this year, with the debts sold at yields below galloping inflation, the Debt Management Office said on Thursday.

Though yields were higher than at its last auction in December, the debt office said it received subscription of 235.05 billion naira for the bonds at the auction held on Wednesday.

Annual inflation in Nigeria climbed to a more than 11-year high of 18.55 percent in December, its eleventh straight monthly rise. The trend was worsened by dollar shortages, which have crippled the import-dependent economy and triggered its first recession in 25 years.

The government is also facing funding challenges brought on by the low price of oil. It expects the budget deficit to widen to 2.36 trillion naira this year as it tries to spend its way of out of the recession.

More than half of the deficit will be funded through local borrowings, the government has said.

The debt office on Thursday said it raised a 105.10 billion naira bond maturing in 2036 at 16.99 percent compared with 16.43 percent at its last sale.

It issued a 2026 bond to fetch 74.90 billion naira at 16.99 percent as against 16.24 percent last month and sold the 2021 note for 34.95 billion naira at 16.89 percent compared with 15.99 percent in December, the debt office said.

Nigerian government issues local currency bonds every month to raise funds to support its spending plan, which also goes to help the banking system manage liquidity.

($1 = 305.25 naira) (Reporting by Oludare Mayowa; Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

 

Nigeria lawmakers worried about gap between official and black market naira rates – Reuters

LAGOS (Reuters) – Nigerian lawmakers have adopted the official exchange rate of 305 naira per dollar for the 2017 budget but have asked the central bank to initiate measures to close the 40 percent spread with the black market, deputy senate president said on Tuesday.

Members of the upper house of parliament said during a review of the budget on Tuesday that they were worried about the exchange rate differential, which they described as damaging to the economy and said had led to a loss of investor confidence.

“We are worried by the huge gap. The central bank needs to do something about it and stabilize the currency. We must find a way of bridging the gap and restore investor confidence,” deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu read out in the house.

(Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Catherine Evans)

CBN warns Nigerians: Stay away from bitcoin… it isn’t legal tender – The Cable

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned Nigerians against the use of virtual currencies, including bitcoin, ripples, litecoin.

In a statement on Tuesday, CBN said virtual currencies are largely used in terrorism financing and money laundering, considering the anonymity of virtual transactions.

“The attention of bank and other financial institutions is hereby drawn to the above risks and you are required to take the following actions actions pending substantive regulation or decision by the CBN,” the statement read.

“Ensure that you do not use, hold, trade and/or transact in any way in virtual currencies. Ensure that existing customers that are virtual currency exchangers have effective capital AML/CFT controls that enable them to comply with customer identification, verification and transfer, monitoring requirements.

“Where banks or other financial institutions are not satisfied with the controls put in place by the virtual currency exchanger/customers, the relationship should be discontinued immediately.

“Any suspicious transactions by these customers should immediately be reported to the Nigerian Finance Intellignece Unit (NFIU).”

The apex bank said anyone trading in bitcoin is doing so at his or her own risk.

“The CBN reiterates that VCs such as bitcoin, ripples, monero, litecoin, dogecion, onecoin, etc., and similar products are not legal tenders in Nigeria.

“Thus, any bank or institution that transacts in such businesses does so at its own risk.”

Bitcoin was the best performing currency of the year 2016. It has appreciated from four cents in 2010 to over $1,000 in 2017.

On January 8, when MMM Nigeria announced its planned comeback, it introduced bitcoin as a mode of payment.

Prior to the freeze of MMM, participants were allowed to provide help in bitcoin, but they were paid back in naira. However, the new plan allows participants to receive payment in bitcoin, and watch their monies grow in bitcoin.

“Due to the recent sharp price fluctuations of Bitcoin, MAVRO-BTC is being introduced in the system,” MMM said.

“So far, we have only had Mavro-Naira in the System. Even though you provided help via Bitcoin, your Bitcoins, anyway, were recalculated into the Nigerian Naira at the exchange rate at the moment of providing help, and you were credited with Mavro-Naira in your PO.

“It was the naira amount that grew. In other words you received 30% a month specifically in the naira (not in Bitcoins, although you originally provided help using Bitcoins). Now, you have a chance to have 30% growth of the Bitcoin amount, not the naira amount.

“So, acquire MAVRO-BTC which will be credited in your PO and will grow at a 30% monthly growth rate. In a month not only 30% will be added to your initial amount, but it can increase itself due to Bitcoin price growth.”

External reserves rise by $1bn in two weeks – Punch

Oyetunji Abioye

The country’s external reserves have hit $26.968bn, nearing the $27bn mark, the latest statistics posted on the Central Bank of Nigeria website have shown.

The reserves rose to $26.968bn on January 13 from $26.765bn on January 11, having hit $26.658bn and $26.552bn on January and 10 and January 11, respectively.

Between December 30, 2016 and January 12, 2017, the foreign exchange reserves rose from $25.8bn to $26.8bn, indicating an accretion of $1bn in two weeks, the CBN data showed.

The foreign exchange reserves have been rising significantly in recent weeks following the gradual increase in crude oil price and production output.

Experts said the slowdown in foreign exchange allocation to forex markets by the CBN might have contributed to the reserves accretion.

Within the space of three days, the reserves rose by $300m from $26.2bn on January 6 to $26.5bn on January 9.

The foreign exchange reserves had hit $26.0bn on January 3, 2017, up from $25.8bn on December 30, 2017, the CBN statistics revealed.

The reserves ended last year with $25.84bn on December 30, 2016.

The foreign exchange reserves had risen to over four-month high of $25.7bn on December 28, up from $25.4bn on December 23.

However, currency and economic experts are not sure if the current accretion in the external reserves’ is sustainable amid a falling naira and acute shortage of dollar in the foreign exchange markets and the economy.

The CBN had spent $4bn from the nation’s external reserves to defend the local currency in the last 12 months, despite the staggering fall in the value of the naira against the United States dollar and other major foreign currencies last year

The controversial defence of the naira by the CBN has come under severe criticism from economists, who believe that the forces of demand and supply should be allowed to determine the exchange rate of the naira, at least to a considerable level.

The country’s reserves had recorded $23.89bn low on October 19.  The reserves dropped by 15.9 per cent between 2015 and 2016

Nigeria’s forex earnings hit $24billion in 2016 Q3 – Today

The federal government aggregate foreign exchange (forex) inflow as at the third quarter of 2016 moved up remarkably to $24 billion, a member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Doyin Salami, has revealed.

This represents an increase by $8.67 billion when compared with the aggregate forex inflow into the economy of $15.33 billion recorded by the country in the second quarter of 2016, as indicated in the CBN’s economic report.

But Salami, who said this when he spoke on the outlook of the Nigerian economy in 2017, at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, King’s Court Parish, Victoria Island, Lagos, at the weekend, pointed out that the aforementioned amount of forex inflow recorded in the third quarter of last year was paltry, compared with an aggregate of $97 billion earned by the country in 2014.

“In 2014, Nigeria earned $97 billion from export revenue, $90 billion of that was oil. As of third quarter 2016, we were doing $24 billion. Now, even if you pro-rate it and add another $8 billion for the full year, that is just $32 billion and about a third of where we were in 2014.

“When you look at the numbers, foreign portfolio investment which was $16 billion in 2014, was down to less than $2 billion in 2016. So, the inflow of FX has reduced dramatically. On the supply side, inflows are down, but on the demand side, the pressure for forex is still high. That is one of the few challenges that this economy is facing,” Salami, who is a lecturer at the Lagos Business School (LBS), Pan-Atlantic University, explained.

He urged the federal government to restore confidence in the economy.

Salami, who stressed that the comments were his personal views and not that of the MPC added: “Nigeria in my view unwisely allowed herself to be exited from the JP Morgan Index. It was very unwise! Given that I sat in some of the meetings and listened to some of the comments, Nigeria really needs to understand that in the global market, it is whoever offers the best terms and best securities that gets it. My view is that currently, Nigeria’s policy stance is not aligned to attract capital flows. I don’t want to be sentimental.

“In terms of capital flows, if we can encourage confidence in Nigeria, in the policy making of the Nigerian government, then we would be able to attract capital flows. But if we cannot, we would continue this way. 2017 would be driven by the resource allocation mechanism to be adopted by the country.  Nigeria has one of the best FX policy that was introduced in June last year, it is just that we haven’t implemented it yet.

“As a nation, how we come out of recession is as important as staying out of recession. If we come out of it in a manner that sends us back to it two years down the line, because what we did to come out of it was unsustainable, that would be too bad. If we come out of it in the right way, it is going to be gradual. So, for me I see growth around one and two per cent for 2017. My expectation for inflation in 2017 is going to be around 13 per cent. My hope is that the central bank would be a bit more consistent because last year, those of us responsible for monetary policy managed to speak from both sides of our mouths.”

Furthermore, he pointed out that because of the structure of the Nigerian economy, events in the global economy would always influence activities in the domestic market.

According to him, the international environment is no “longer set fair for Nigeria,” saying that part of it was our fault and partly because of the fact that things have changed.

“Donald Trump takes over as the U.S. President at the end of next week and in terms of his economics, it doesn’t portend the best of time for Nigeria. And this is in three dimensions. Firstly, taxes would reduce and US government spending is going to rise. How does that concern Nigeria? It does concern Nigeria because that means US deficit is likely to rise and US interest rates are likely to rise.

“So, on top of what we were expecting, we are also expecting further rise in US interest rates. If US interest rates rise and we are borrowing internationally, it would be costly. If US interest rates rises, the pressure of further foreign portfolio investments coming in here reduces, the pressure for outflows for Nigeria and other emerging economies increases. So, any which way you look at it is a bit of a problem. A stronger dollar is also not good for oil prices. That is because a stronger dollar makes it more expensive and demand to drop.

“As far as oil is concerned, we have seen a little rally recently and my expectation is that prices would move in a range between $45 and $60 per barrel. Honestly, $60 per barrel is rather on the high side. But three things are Nigeria’s challenges as far as oil is concerned: If the Niger Delta is not calm, the likelihood that we would get two million barrels per day of oil is not bright.

“So, we need a calm Delta. And my sense is that the government seems to be re-engaging. But there are two other challenges which are beyond our control. The first is the glut in the crude oil market may strengthen and shale. But we cannot continue to depend on the external environment to support Nigeria.”

CBN to resume dollar sales to BDCs next week – Vanguard

By Babajide Komolafe

THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will resume sales of dollar proceeds of international money transfer (IMT) to bureaux de change (BDC) operators next week. CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this during a meeting with executives of Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON). Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele ABCON President, Aminu Gwadabe, confirmed this to Vanguard, saying that the CBN governor also dismissed as untrue speculations that the apex bank would reintroduce mandatory caution deposit of N35 million.

CBN had returned the mandatory caution to BDCs last year following the cancellation of direct sales of dollars to them. It commenced the sale of dollar proceeds of IMT to BDCs in August last year as part of measures to boost dollar supply in the retail segment and also stem the depreciation of the Naira in the parallel market. However, the sale was suspended last month due to the Christmas and New Year holidays. Emefiele told ABCON executives that the apex bank will resume dollar sales to BDCs so as to ensure stability of the Naira exchange rate.

Gwadabe told Vanguard that CBN governor also warned against speculation against the value of the Naira, assuring that the apex bank will not devalue the Naira contrary to predictions in some quarters. The CBN governor also asked BDCs to shun speculation and ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements. Regulatory requirements Gwadabe said the CBN governor commended efforts of the Association to publish weekly exchange rates for BDCs, in order to enhance transparency and confidence in the market.

The meeting with the ABCON executives was aimed at exploring measures to narrow the wide gap between the interbank exchange rate and the parallel market rate. The interbank exchange rate closed at N304.5 yesterday awhile the parallel market rate closed at N495 per dollar. Recall that ABCON launched weekly exchange rate quote for BDCs as part of efforts to encourage Nigerians in Diaspora to patronise the official channels to remit their dollars. Speaking at the launch, Gwadabe said the Association will also introduce full automation of BDC operations in Nigeria, saying about 2000 BDCs have already been enrolled in the online platform established for this purpose.

Gwadabe said that these measures were aimed at boosting confidence in the foreign exchange market and hence encourage Nigerians in diaspora to send their dollars through the official market. “It is believed that Nigerians in diaspora remitted about $35 billion into the country last year. We believe if all these dollars were remitted through the official channels, the naira will appreciate significantly, and the gap in exchange rates would be eliminated”, he said. He noted that the challenge facing the nation’s exchange rate, especially the recently introduced flexible exchange rate regime is liquidity, adding that the solution is to ensure transparency via harmonisation of exchange rate, which would in turn boost confidence in the market and encourage dollar inflows.

 

CBN to BDCs: We Won’t Devalue Naira – Thisday

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has told Bureau de Change (BDC) operators it does not intend to devalue the naira and will support it at current levels, especially with a recent rise in oil prices, the head of their association said on Thursday.

Reuters quoted the President of the Association of Bureau De Change of Nigeria (ABCON), Aminu Gwadabe, to have said the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele told the group in a meeting it was looking at ways to boost dollar liquidity on the official market to eliminate the spread to the parallel market.

The government has been pressing retail operators to narrow what it says is a damaging gulf between the naira’s official rate – currently N305 to the dollar – and the parallel rate.

On Tuesday the operators set their first ever reference exchange rate for the naira at 399 per dollar ahead of the central bank meeting.

“With the recovery of oil prices, CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) has no intention of devaluing the currency and intends to support the naira at the present level,” Gwadabe said, quoting the central bank governor.

Central bank data showed foreign exchange reserves rose 6.68 percent to $26.65 billion at Jan. 10 from a month before, the highest level since May, driven by a rise in crude prices.

The bank appealed to operators to follow the rules in order to avoid sanctions and curb speculation on the currency.
Meanwhile, the naira dropped to N495 to the dollar on the parallel market yesterday, weaker than the N492 to the dollar it closed the previous day. The development was attributed to weaker forex supply in the market, as demand continued to rise.