By Babajide Komolafe
LAGOS—The naira, yesterday, appreciated to N516 per dollar in the parallel market as the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, intervened in the foreign exchange market by selling $411.8 million dollars for visible and invisible foreign exchange transactions.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Emeritus of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, yesterday, commended latest effort of the CBN to address the depreciation of the naira in the parallel market.
Under the new policy, the CBN said it would sell direct additional dollars to banks to meet the needs of Nigerians for Personal Travel Allowance, PTA, and Business Travel Allowance, BTA, medical needs and school fees at exchange rate not exceeding 20 per cent above the interbank market rate.
Foreign exchange sources told Vanguard that the CBN, yesterday, carried out wholesale interventions in the interbank forex market by providing a total sum of $370.8 million futures transactions to 23 banks to meet the visible and invisible requests of customers. The apex bank also provided $46 million in spot transactions.
A source at the CBN disclosed that the qualified bids for the dollars ranged from N315 to N360, adding that seven banks received full allotments of their respective bids valued at $37.5 million each. Other banks received allotments ranging from $46,512.50 to $15,578,081.51.
A breakdown of the forwards indicates that $216,465,671.02 is for 30 days, while $154,345,139.77 is for 60 days. The apex bank also made spot sales of $1.5 million to four banks, totalling $6 million. It also offered $41 million for sales of which $35 million was taken up for the payment of school fees, medical bills and personal and business travel allowances.
Confirming the information, Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, said the bank’s intermediation in the forex market was the first wholesale intervention aimed at easing the pressure of access to forex by Nigerians who intend to meet obligations that fall under visible and invisible needs categories.
He further explained that the CBN offered $500 million for sale to the banks, but not all of them provided enough naira backing to pay fully for their respective bid amounts.
While expressing optimism that the wholesale intervention of the CBN would substantially ease the foreign exchange pressure on visible and invisible needs of customers, Okorafor assured that the bank would continue to make interventions based on qualified bids from the banks on the requests of their customers.
Okogie hails CBN on forex
Meanwhile, Archbishop Emeritus of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, yesterday, commended the CBN for its latest effort to stem the tide of demand pressures which had battered the nation’s currency in the unofficial market.
Speaking in an interview in his office in Lagos, the cleric maintained that when there is the will there will always be the way, liking the CBN latest move to the deliberate efforts of the church to revamp returned schools to the middion.
According to him, when St. Gregory’s College, Obalende was returned to the mission after several years of military take over, it was a shadow of its old self but “go to any of our schools, I’m proud of that. Because we sat down to do our homework.
“If you are not good enough, we just tell you quietly to step aside. Can’t we do that in Nigeria? Every sector is the same thing, as a result, people are now rushing to where the grass is greener.
“They will pretend that they can do it. So, that’s what is happening in this nation. Not that we can’t do it, we can. Look at what the CBN had done which was reported in the papers today (yesterday) with the naira, I congratulate them partially.”
According to him, the CBN ought to have gone down to something like N300 or N250 to one dollar because a certain group of people is making a whole lot of money from this.