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Nigeria’s external reserves hit $40.4 billion

08 Jan 2018, 05:48 pm
Financial Nigeria
Nigeria’s external reserves hit $40.4 billion

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The accretion to the reserves was due to the forex demand management strategies of the CBN.

Central Bank of Nigeria headquarters in Abuja

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced today that the country’s external reserves have risen to $40.4 billion. According to the statement by the apex bank, the reserves rose to this level on Friday, January 5, 2018.

CBN’s Acting Director in charge of Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, said the accretion to the reserves was due to the forex demand management strategies of the Bank. One of the key strategies was the decision in 2015 to restrict access to forex in the official currency market for importers of some 41 items.

Although the forex restriction has been a subject of criticism by manufacturers and trade associations since it was introduced in 2015, the CBN has stuck to the policy. The CBN touts the policy as fostering import substitution. But the capital control has been criticized for hampering local manufacturing, considering that some of the items on the list are intermediate goods.

However, Okorafor said the import restriction had ensured a decline in Nigeria’s import bills from over $5 billion monthly in 2015 to about $1.5 billion in 2017.

Meanwhile, the CBN also announced today that it injected a total of $210 million into the interbank foreign exchange market in the first round of trading for the year on Monday, January 8, 2018. A breakdown of the figure indicates that the CBN offered $100 million to the Wholesale sector while the Small and Medium Enterprises and the Invisibles windows each received $55 million.

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