The Central Bank of Nigeria has released another $100m into the wholesale forwards segment of the market and pumped an additional $80m into the banks specifically for the settlement of dollar demand for school fees, medicals and Personal Travel Allowance (PTA), among others.
In a release by its spokesman, Isaac Okorafor, the CBN said that its commitment to providing enough forex for legitimate business remains unshaken, reiterating that it would do “everything possible” to ensure the steady supply of forex to the market.
It will be recalled that efforts by the CBN in making available large amounts of forex to the market has led to the appreciation of the Naira by over N85 in less than one week.
There are fears in the market that the local currency may well be on a permanent journey to its natural value put by some analysts at less than N300 to the dollar.
Nigeria has been running short of dollars as oil revenues have fallen along with the price of crude. That has weakened the local currency on the black market, where it trades far lower than the official interbank rate of 305 naira to the dollar.
The apex bank, under pressure from the government to narrow the gap between the official and black market rates, has effectively devalued the naira for consumers, offering to sell them dollars at about half the premium the black market charges.
The naira, which had weakened to 520 to the dollar on the black market, firmed to a more than three-months high of 460 on Friday, after several interventions by the central bank on the official market.