Naira drops further, now N499/$ at black market

By Odunewu Segun

The naira was earlier today, Tuesday 31, quoted as low as 499 to the dollar on the black market on percent weaker than on the official market, where the Central Bank of Nigeria has been selling the greenback to support the local currency.

On the official market, the naira was quoted at 305.25 on Tuesday, the level it has been trading at since last August.

National Daily gathered that the dollar was fetching between 495 and 499 naira on the black market. It was quoted at 497 on the black market two weeks ago.

The approved bureau de change operators set their first ever reference exchange rate for the naira this month and have maintained the same quote for the currency at 399 per dollar for the past three weeks.

Foreign exchange bureaus said international money transfer agents were selling $8,000 to each of their 3,000 members weekly to support liquidity, which is far short of market demand.

The naira lost a third of its official value against the greenback in 2016 after the central bank scrapped a currency peg in a bid to alleviate dollar shortages.

Meanwhile, President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), Alhaji Aminu Gwadebe has said the stability in the naira exchange rate would eventually lead to its appreciation.

He said that some International Money Transfer Organisations (IMTOs) were on the verge of concluding plans with stakeholders in the forex industry to boost liquidity in the market.

The ABCON chief  said that the stability been witnessed by the Naira at the open market was an expression of the ground work done by the CBN, the BDCs and other critical stakeholders in the forex market.

“We are happy that the Naira had remained stable for about two weeks running. This is attributable to many factors, including efforts by the CBN, the BDCs and the IMTOs to boost liquidity in the market.”

“Many of these IMTOs have indicated interest in bringing their inflows into the economy, thus leading to the appreciation of the Naira,’’ Gwadabe said.

The Naira had remained stable for close to two weeks, exchanging at N498 to a dollar at the parallel market.

In spite of the Jan. 23 and 24 Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the CBN, the Naira remained stable.