‘FG in sustained battle to shore up Naira, improve forex availability’

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….As CBN disburses $221.37m for BTA, others

By Emeka Anaeto & Soni Daniel

ABUJA— The battle to shore up the value of the local currency, Naira, would be sustained with plans to make foreign exchange available to end users.

A top Presidency official confirmed to Vanguard, last night, that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, is working with Federal Government to make this happen.

In line with this agenda, the apex bank is said to have injected about $221 million into retail foreign exchange market to ease pressures on the parallel market rates. CBN has also injected over $600 million in the forwards contract for wholesale transactions last week to write down backlogs of US Dollar demands.

The top Presidency official stated: “It is clear that more and more measures are likely to be applied to enforce effective compliance with the position of the CBN and the Federal Government regarding the performance of the Naira to the Dollar and Nigerians should expect to get some real value in the weeks and months ahead.

“The good news is that the CBN has already started implementing the new measures and some positive results are evident and Nigerians should expect a better monetary regime as the government moves to ensure sanity in the sector.”

Forex

CBN disburses $221.37m for BTA, others

Meanwhile, the apex bank said, weekend, it has sold $221.37 million to 16 banks through the interbank foreign exchange (forex) market.

The apex bank disclosed this in its Forex Forward Sales Report on the second wholesale intervention, obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria, yesterday, in Abuja.

It said the move was to enable the banks meet demand for Basic Transport Allowance, BTA, school fees and medicals by customers and to ease the stress of genuine customers in obtaining foreign currencies.

The bank said 10 banks accessed $162.8 million at a qualified bid for the United States dollars, ranging from N330 to N360 per dollar on a 30-day tenor, adding that it would mature on March 27.

It said: “For the 60 days tenor, six banks qualified to access $58.52 million with bids for the United States dollars ranging from N315 to N320.5 per dollar meant to mature on March 25, 2017.

“CBN recently unveiled a new policy action to make forex readily available for personal and business travels, medicals and school fees.”

CBN further said it injected $370.9 million into the interbank market, through forward sales to 23 banks at a qualified bid ranging from N315 to N360 per dollar.

The apex bank also disclosed that it made spot sales of $6 million to four banks and sold $35 million for the payment of school fees, medicals and BTA.

NAN reports that about 24 hours after the announcement of the new policy, the naira firmed up at the black market from about N520 to a dollar down to the current exchange rate of N440 to a dollar as at yesterday.

Market analysts believe that the dollar will continue to fall until it stabilises at an average exchange rate of about N400 to a dollar.

Mr Emmanuel Ukeje, the Special Adviser to CBN Governor on Financial Markets, said the new foreign exchange policy would help strengthen the value of naira in the market.

Ukeje further said that to make foreign exchange readily accessible to customers, CBN had also eliminated stiff conditions in applying for BTA in banks.

“The central bank has waved tax clearance provision in accessing these funds. However, your journey must originate from Nigeria.

“You cannot leave overseas and buy BTA to travel. You must have a valid ticket to travel with and a bank account as well as BVN to be recognised as a bank account holder.

“A person is entitled to basic travelling allowance every quarter and not more than 4,000 dollars and it is only those who are 18 years and above that can access it,” he said.

File: CBN         26/02/17

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