Naira dips fur­ther at par­al­lel mar­ket

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE -

The naira yesterday fur­ther de­pre­ci­ated against the dol­lar at the par­al­lel mar­ket. The naira lost N1.50 to the dol­lar, as it was traded at N225.5 to the dol­lar at the mar­ket on Mon­day af­ter­noon.

This is against the N224 to the dol­lar recorded last Fri­day.

The of­fi­cial in­ter­bank rate also dropped by 0.05 to N196.95 to the dol­lar.

Traders at the par­al­lel mar­ket at­trib­uted the de­pre­ci­a­tion of the naira at the mar­ket to in­suf­fi­cient quan­tity of dol­lar at the mar­ket.

Mean­while, Vice Pres­i­dent Yemi Os­in­bajo has said the coun­try will keep its re­stric­tions on for­eign cur­rency for now in or­der to pre­serve for­eign re­serves amid plung­ing oil rev­enues.

Nige­ria has re­stricted im­ports since June to off­set a fall in vi­tal oil rev­enues which has hit public fi­nances and the naira.

But the Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria has warned that some com­pa­nies might be forced to close plants be­cause they could no longer im­port raw ma­te­ri­als or equip­ment for their pro­duc­tion.

Os­in­bajo de­fended the re­stric­tions, say­ing they had en­abled the coun­try’s for­eign cur­rency re­serves to sta­bi­lize, but said they were only a short-term mea­sure.

“We want an open for­eign ex­change mar­ket. But that mar­ket must be one that has the re­sources to make it ro­bust and open,” he told re­porters late on Satur­day. “So, long term, we ex­pect that the Cen­tral Bank will ease re­stric­tions as we go along.”

“In fact, medium to longterm and hope­fully we will be able to go back to more or less where there was greater free­dom of move­ment (be­fore) cur­rent re­stric­tions,” he said.

Os­in­bajo also said Nige­ria’s eco­nomic growth should pick up “a bit” in the next quar­ters, af­ter halv­ing in the sec­ond quar­ter year-on year, as power sup­plies had im­proved.

“We are well on the way to get­ting out of the worst part of where we are to­day,” he said, dis­miss­ing fears the coun­try could slip into re­ces­sion next year.

He also said there would be no ex­emp­tion for state bod­ies to trans­fer rev­enues into a sin­gle ac­count at the cen­tral bank, which is part of a drive to com­bat graft by Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari. Banks have com­plained the rule has sucked up liq­uid­ity.

Os­in­bajo said some in­sti­tu­tions, such as oil firm NNPC, had ini­tially sought an ex­emp­tion but are now, at least, par­tially abid­ing by the rules.

“I know that even the NNPC has com­plied to a cer­tain ex­tent. I know that they may have some out­stand­ing (rev­enues),” he said. “But the NNPC has def­i­nitely started to com­ply.” NAN/Reuters

Vice Pres­i­dent Yemi Os­in­bajo

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