Other parts of the statement detailed that the CBN will immediately begin to provide foreign exchange to all commercial banks to meet the needs of both personal travel allowances (PTA) and business travel allowances (BTA) and meet the needs of parents, guardians and sponsors who are seeking to make payments of school and educational fees for their children and wards.
Before the CBN’s new forex policy interventions, travellers out of Nigeria were finding it difficult to access forex at the airports.
Travelex and other forex companies at the airports weren’t selling dollars, even though they all had the dollars.
“They are all hoarding the dollar”, one passenger told Pulse at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, days before the CBN rolled out its new set of policies. “The banks are selling to the parallel market…to the Mallams, who in turn sell to the general public at an exorbitant price”.
One Bureau De Change dealer told Pulse that they were purchasing the dollar at N350/$1 at official CBN sources and selling same to the public at N520/$1.
Other traders in forex were simply holding on to the dollar in anticipation of further devaluation of the Naira. Some held onto their forex while waiting to sell at higher prices.
Speculators in forex were having a field day.
“There was a lot of round-tripping and greed going on,” a financial analyst who craved anonymity for this story, told Pulse.
“N525 is certainly not the true value of the Naira to the Dollar”, one banker told Pulse in utter frustration, last week.
“In order to further ease the burden of travellers and ensure that transactions are settled at much more competitive exchange rates, the CBN hereby directs all banks to open FX retail outlets at major airports as soon as logistics permit”, the apex bank ordered.
There was more from a now livid central bank:
“The Bank reiterates that it would neither tolerate unscrupulous actions nor hesitate to bring serious sanctions on offenders, be they banks or their staff”, the statement read.
24 hours after the CBN barked and flexed its muscle, the Naira appreciated against the Dollar.
Pulse’ checks at Bureau De Change outlets at the Lagos airport, showed that the Naira is now exchanging for N400 to the dollar, N520 to the Pound and N420 to the Euro, as at 12 noon, Friday February 24, 2017.
The Naira may well trade for N300 to the dollar before mid March, if prevailing favourable conditions persist.
Besides the CBN’s new interventionist policy, there are a few more dollars to play with in Nigeria at the moment.
The price of crude oil has risen to $56/barrel in the international market and Nigeria’s crude oil output has gone past the 2million bpd (barrel per day) mark from previous poor levels of 1.7million bpd–which had to do with activities of pipeline vandals.
At the best of times, Nigeria was averaging 2.2million bpd.