The Central Bank of Nigeria has been under frequent criticism from Nigerians unhappy with its handling of the forex policy. Apart from the banning of 41 items and the apparent controls put in place to deny easy access to forex, the apex bank has also been blamed for unscrupulous activities which it has been trying to deny since last week.
It issued a press release last week, chastising critics who it claims their real interests “are anything near altruistic but rather self-serving and unpatriotic”. In another press release on Monday it came out to clarify alleged “wrong FOREX purchase figures” which it was accused of publishing. The media had noticed discrepancies in its forex utilization reports suggesting that there could be some elements of foul play in their reports. However it denied it vehemently, explaining that it was due to errors in the submissions made by the banks.
In line with our principle of transparency, we directed DMBs to forward to us evidence of FOREX sale to end users and to advertise same in national dailies;
Since the introduction of the new FOREX Policy in 2016, we have published, monthly, the evidence of sale from DMBs, as received from the banks and without any alteration by us in the spirit of transparency. We have recently observed, however, that some DMBs forwarded inaccurate data, which were erroneously published and gave a wrong impression of disparate rates;
The DMBs involved in providing inaccurate data have since been issued queries accordingly. Some have returned a response indicating that some of the figures were related to formatting errors, which do not affect the true rates of the affected transactions
The interesting part of the press release however was the bank’s apparent denial of accusations that it was allocating forex to certain individuals or companies at prices not determined by the market. It denied as follows;
The Central Bank of Nigeria neither allocates foreign exchange nor does it deal directly with bank customers;
The CBN does not fix FOREX rates for transactions by individuals or companies;
Analysts believe the denials suggest the CBN takes the matter seriously considering the effect it could have on the integrity of the apex bank, which is critically required to sell Nigerian debts.