Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele has said Nigeria has a single exchange rate window, which is the Investors & Exporters (I&E) window and is operated through the commercial banks. The CBN Governor said every other market for conduct of forex transactions is illegal and not recognised.
The CBN boss said it has gathered details about the owner of Aboki fx, a private online platform for rating the performance of the naira at the unofficial market, identified as Olumide. The London-based Olumide is alleged to have over 18 account numbers with Nigerian banks which he uses to conduct forex business. “We are tracking the owner of Aboki fx, Mr Olumide. It’s an economic sabotage,” he stated during the briefing that was monitored live.
He is alleged to have provided forex for some Nigeria-based companies whom Emefiele said will also be made to face the wrath of the law.
“The only exchange rate that I recognise today in the Nigerian foreign exchange market, which is the dominant market remains the Investors & Exporters window, which is the market that we expect everybody that wishes to procure foreign exchange or somebody who wants to sell foreign exchange, go to your bank, the Investors & Exporters window will attend to you. I’m sorry to say that I do not, and I do not intend to recognise there are any other rates in the market,” Mr Emefiele said yesterday while briefing journalists on the outcome of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja.
The MPC decided by a unanimous vote to retain the monetary policy rate (official interest rate) at 11.5 per cent while also holding other monetary parameters constant around the MPR. The meaning is that MPC also held the asymmetric corridor of +100/-700 basis points around the MPR; retain the CRR at 27.5 per cent; and retain the Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent.”
The naira fell to about N570 to the dollar at the parallel market during the week, giving concern that the currency is fast loosening its value. But Mr Emefiele says the naira should not be rated based on its performance at the “illegal” market that has been starved of forex since the last eight weeks when it announced a stoppage of forex sale to Bureau De Change operators.
Emefiele said the CBN remains the only central bank in the world as at eight weeks ago that would deep its hand into its reserves, “our common wealth and pack dollars and begin to sell it to Bureau De Change operators in the market; all in an attempt to stabilise foreign exchange rates in the market.” He cited other central banks across the world that do not sell forex.
He said the apex bank has been using its reserves to support the corrupt tendencies of people who illegally buy foreign exchange from the ‘illegal market’ to buy arms and ammunition and bring them back into the country and conduct crime in the form of Boko Haram insurgents and kidnappers and hurt Nigerians.
“That’s what people want us to continue to do. We cannot do that any longer. We can’t. if you have any legal, legitimate business you want to conduct, please take your business to a bank, they will sell you FX. If the amount you want is even above the limit that is recognize and we find that the reasons you are making this demand is legitimate, your bank will speak to us and we will give you more than what is the limit. Don’t go elsewhere, go to your bank. In the same vein you have dollar to sell, go to your bank. We don’t recognise and we will not see it again. That’s our position,” he stated.
Emefiele said CBN will soon go after those he said are sabotaging the Nigerian economy and jeopardizing the naira for selfish gains.
He said the CBN will identify go after people who use fake visa and other travel documents to fraudulently procure forex from the commercial banks through EFCC and other anti-graft agencies.
The MPC asked the central bank to intensify its intervention programmes targeted at reducing inflation rate and job creation.