FX Reserves Dries Up, From $3bn To Zero– Emefiele

By Clement Alphonsus

The official foreign exchange receipt from crude oil sales into Nigeria’s official reserves has dried up steadily from above US$3.0 billion monthly in 2014 to an absolute zero dollars today, Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said weekend.

He disclosed this at the 57th annual bankers dinner organized by the Chartered Institute of bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) in Lagos at the weekend.

He pointed that the Nigerian foreign exchange market is in the middle of a serious crunch which are straining the reserves and stifling the value of the naira.

According to him, the number of student visa issued to Nigerians by the UK alone has increased from an annual average of about 8,000 visas as of 2020 to nearly 66,000 in 2022, which implies an eight-folds surge to about US$2.5 billion annually in study-related foreign exchange outflow to the UK alone.

It is against the backdrop of the worsening mismatch between foreign exchange market demand and supply, and the need to boost foreign exchange earnings that the CBN and the Bankers’ Committee initiated the RT200 programme in February 2022, he said.

The programme, he said was fundamentally devised to innovatively tackle the fundamental problem associated with the repatriation of non-oil export proceeds.

“So far, we have recorded and continue to record resounding success with the RT200 Programme.”

Inflows through the programme in 2022 rose to about US$1.6 billion and he said it could surpass US$2.5 billion by year-end.

“Under the rebate scheme of the programme, the Bank has reimbursed a total of N78.4 billion naira, which I consider a fair price to incur to stabilise our foreign exchange market,” Emefiele said.

“I am happy to note that, so far, the Naira-for-Dollar scheme has been successful in increasing remittance inflows through our registered International Money Transfer Organization (IMTOs),” he said.