HomeNewsNigeria Faces Economic Challenges as Naira Dives Following Currency Unification

Nigeria Faces Economic Challenges as Naira Dives Following Currency Unification

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Nigeria’s naira has experienced a staggering decline, dropping by 80.81% to an average of N797.43/dollar in October 2023, a significant contrast to the N441.02/dollar rate from October 2022. This depreciation follows the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) move to unify foreign exchange (FX) rates, a decision that has sent shockwaves through the economy.

Data from the FMDQ Securities Exchange reveals the naira’s deterioration accelerated in June 2023, aligning with President Bola Tinubu’s suspension of fuel subsidies and the CBN’s shift towards a unified exchange rate. The currency’s value further spiraled down, crossing the N700/dollar mark in July due to scarcity and increased speculation in the parallel market, eventually reaching an average of N769.51/dollar.

According to a report by This Day Live, the World Bank has classified the naira, alongside Angola’s kwanza, as the “worst performing currency” in Africa for 2023. The Bank attributes the naira’s weakening to the CBN’s elimination of official market trading restrictions, cautioning against unconventional interventions that might compromise the effectiveness of monetary policies in countries battling double-digit inflation.

David Adnori, Vice President of Highcap Securities Limited, noted the profound impact of global oil price fluctuations on Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings and the resulting challenges in maintaining external obligations and foreign exchange liquidity.

The CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, speaking at a banking event, acknowledged the issue of foreign exchange scarcity. He disclosed efforts to clear the backlog of foreign exchange forward obligations, including payments to 31 banks. Cardoso emphasized the need for a market with significant foreign exchange liquidity and reaffirmed the CBN’s commitment to policies aimed at stabilizing the naira’s exchange rate, fostering economic growth, and reducing interest rates.

Tajudeen Olayinka, CEO of Wyoming Capital and Partners, called on the CBN to create varied sources for foreign exchange inflow and to enhance domestic production. He highlighted the necessity for a market structure that minimizes exchange rate divergence and boosts liquidity in the official foreign exchange market.

As Nigeria grapples with these economic challenges, the need for strategic and multi-faceted solutions is paramount to stabilize the naira and foster long-term economic stability.

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