Traders blame CBN, banks for naira’s battered image

By Odunewu Olusegun

The President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria, Alhaji Aminu Gwadebe, has blamed the recent depreciation of the Naira on the speculators’ onslaught and resistance by the banking industry.

Gwadebe said at the weekend in Lagos that the refusal of some banks to sell the invisibles such as personal and business travel allowances frustrated naira recovery.

He also accused the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) of having ‘knacks for quick solution’ that only favours the banks to the detriment of the economy.

According to the ABCON chief, the CBN had recently accused the banks of frustrating its policies, even setting up emergency number for complains for customers against banks.

He said it was ironical that the naira started losing strength in spite of the CBN’s review of the rates from N375 to N360 to a dollar, and continuous intervention by the CBN in the FX market to the tune of over $2bn.

He said the Naira started trading at the beginning of the week with a promising outlook for sustained strength against the dollar but nosedived on Friday, exchanging for N405 to a dollar.

Gwadebe disclosed that the battle for the soul of the naira would be won if the CBN could boost liquidity to the BDCs for the effective unification of rates. “It is evident that the injection of liquidity to the interbank market rather than the BDC sub-sector is not effective and transparent for sustained FOREX rate convergence and unification.”

Since the Naira is currently a means of exchange in about 15 countries in Africa, Gwadebe urged the CBN to sponsor a bill for an act of the National Assembly for Naira convertibility in West Africa, as part of the solutions to full recovery of the Naira.

He also urged the Federal Government to increase security surveillance at the nation’s airports and land borders to checkmate illegal foreign cash evacuation.

The Naira appears to be on trial again, as experts argue that winning the battle for the soul of the naira requires more than pulling the monetary policy lever.

They called for a blend of fiscal and monetary policy and indeed patriotism from all Nigerians to save the Naira from further sliding, which at the weekend depreciated further, exchanging for around N405/$ at the parallel market.