The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has instructed banks in the country not to charge customers commission when purchasing foreign exchange for invisible transactions. This was disclosed at bankers committee meeting held yesterday. Invisible transactions include school fees and Basic Travel Allowances (BTA).
In addition, the banks have also been mandated not to sell beyond N360 a dollar, have obtained dollars at N357 from the CBN. The CBN sells dollars to Bureau De Change (BDC) operators at N360 and has mandated them to sell between N362 and N63. BDC operators are however distinct from the informal sellers that line many streets and corners in the country.
During the press briefing, the CBN also warned exporters in the country, to channel their foreign exchange proceeds through banking channels, or risk being prevented from accessing bank facilities in the country. Exporters often do this in order to benefit from higher market rates.
Why is the CBN pursuing this?
The apex bank, as much as possible is trying to channel all invisible demands through banks. The medium to long-term goal is to unify or at least close the gap between the various exchange rates in the country.
How will the CBN sustain this?
The country’s external reserves have also jumped to a 2 year of $42 billion dollars according to information from the CBN website. The rise is primarily due to a rebound in crude oil prices and steady oil production in the country.
All is well, For now
Several analysts have forecast oil to trade within its current range for the first half of the year, then dip slightly in the second half. Geopolitical issues also come into play, as the country approaches the electioneering process. Militants in the oil-producing Niger Delta have threatened to carry out militant attacks. If this happens, it could cripple oil production and reduce Nigeria’s dollar income.