As projected by the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, at the Annual Bankers’ Dinner of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIBN) in Lagos last November, the nation’s external reserves have hit a new level of $40.4billion, just as the apex bank injected a total of $210 million into the interbank foreign exchange (forex) market in the first round of trading for the year yesterday.
Figures obtained from the CBN on Monday indicate that the external reserves reached the $40.4 billion mark on Friday, January 5, 2018, indicating an increase of about one billion dollars between December 2017 and January 2018.
Confirming the figure, the Acting Director in charge of Corporate Communications at the CBN, Isaac Okorafor, attributed the accretion to the bank’s strategy to effectively manage forex demand by various sectors of the economy.
Citing the CBN policy restricting access to forex from the Nigerian forex market by importers of some 41 items as the major turning point, Okorafor said the policy had helped to stop the hemorrhaging of the country’s external reserves, which hitherto witnessed heavy depletion due to huge import bills and other debt obligations. According to him, the CBN policy had ensured a decline in Nigeria’s import bills from over $5 billion monthly in 2015 to about $1.5 billion in 2017.
He expressed optimism that with the determination of the Bank and the cooperation of the fiscal authorities, the external reserves will continue to enjoy more accretion in the course of 2018.
Daily Su had reported last week that the country’s external reserves buoyed by the rising oil price at the world market, has jumped to $38.73 billion.
As of Thursday December 28, the oil price stood at $64.46 per barrel, to raise the reserves to the new height, according to information obtained from the CBN website.
This has revived the hope that the reserves will shoot above the $40 billion earlier predicted by the CBN boss, Godwin Emefiele.
In November, Emefiele has announced the jump in the reserves from $23billion recorded in October 2016 to $38.2 billion, just as he called on the private sector to support the Federal Government in job creation and poverty alleviation.
According to Emefiele, who disclosed this while commissioning the 10 million Euros CBN-assisted Blue Band margarine factory in Agbara, Ogun State, the uptick in the reserves followed the aggressive foreign exchange management policies of the apex bank, which saw the reserves rise from where it used to be two years ago to $38.2 billion, while its intervention in the forex market has resulted in the inflows of over $10billion in the last seven months via the Investors and Exporters (I &E) window.
“And confidence has returned to the market at this time. In seven months we have seen over $10 billion inflows into the country between April and now. I am saying inflows that have come in not as foreign portfolio investments, but foreign direct investments. The apex bank said the external reserves rose to $33 billion on September 14, riding on the back of increased oil earnings. Its Governor, Emefiele, who spoke through his acting Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, said this was a further indication that the economic recovery that started in the second quarter would be consolidated, assuring all and sundry that the bank would work hard to keep growing the reserves and strengthening the economy…”