As the value of the naira remained stable across all segments of the foreign exchange market, the chief executives of banks have assured that there is enough foreign currency to meet the needs of customers in need of it for legitimate businesses, travel allowances or to pay for school fees and medical bills abroad.
This is as the external reserves of the country continue to dip, dropping to $34.006 billion, the lowest level since October 2017. Between June 1 and June 10, 2021, the 30-days moving average of the external reserves had receded by $222.33 million.
The naira, which had depreciated penultimate week remained stable last week, selling at N502 to the dollar at the parallel market and closing at N410.80 to the dollar at the Nigeria Autonomous Foreign Exchange (NAFEX) window. At the NAFEX window, it had grown stronger than N412 which it began last week’s trading activities.
Rising from the Bankers Committee meeting last week, the managing director of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, while speaking on behalf of the banks said: “the CBN has provided sufficient foreign currency for us to meet the legitimate needs of all Nigerian travellers and therefore the idea of going to any other market should not arise at all.
“They have also gone further to make additional forex available for SMEs that need to import for the purpose of doing legitimate business. So, this is to all businessmen out there, if you have a legitimate business and you need forex, all the banks have positioned themselves to be able to meet and provide the forex need. There is no need to go to any alternative market, we are ready to serve you,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, the CBN said, it plans to launch its digital currency before the end of the year as a way to improve remittance as well as financial inclusion in the country.
According to the CBN director, information technology, Rakiya Mohammed, the digital currency will create a cheaper alternative in sending and receiving funds.
Mohammed noted that the launch of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) is expected between the third and last quarter of the year with the pilot stage taking off before the end of 2021, adding that, the CBN is in talks with banks and other stakeholders in the financial industry on this.
She said: “the CBDC will just be as good as you having cash in your pocket. So just like you have the cash in your pocket you will have it on your phone . In order to be able to provide this kind of currency to its populace.”
“Why do we need to go into it? There are different use cases that central banks are looking at. For instance, we are looking at remittances. We all know how many hubs instructions have travel for someone to send money from abroad to Nigeria. It is a huge market in Africa,” he added.