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Opinion

Naira’s Rebound Sparks Economic Optimism in Nigeria -By Kenechukwu Aguolu

The recent tumultuous journey of the Nigerian economy, characterized by the devaluation of the Naira and soaring prices of goods and services, has left many Nigerians grappling with unprecedented challenges. Additionally, multinationals operating within the country have faced heavy losses due to the fluctuations in foreign exchange rates. However, amidst these trials, a glimmer of hope emerges as the Naira embarks on a trajectory of recovery in recent weeks. This resurgence, though met with skepticism by some, is not merely happenstance but the result of well-conceived and executed governmental policies aimed at stabilizing the currency and revitalizing the economy.
1.Clearance of Foreign Exchange Backlogs by CBN: Recognizing the importance of restoring confidence in the foreign exchange market, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) took proactive measures to clear all valid foreign exchange backlogs. This move has reduced market uncertainties and restored stability.

2.Prohibition on Foreign Denominated Collaterals for Naira Loans: In a decisive move to strengthen the Naira and mitigate foreign exchange risks, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has enforced a prohibition on using foreign-denominated collaterals for Naira loans. This bold measure aims to safeguard the integrity of the financial system and curb speculative lending practices.

3.Remittance of Foreign Exchange Inflows by NNPC and the Ministry: In a collaborative effort to bolster the nation’s external reserves, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Ministry agreed to remit their foreign exchange inflows to the apex bank. This strategic decision played a pivotal role in shoring up foreign exchange reserves.

4. Enforcement of Non-Use of Dollars for Transactions: Stricter enforcement measures were implemented to discourage the use of dollars for transactions within Nigeria. By promoting the use of the Naira in domestic transactions, the government aimed to reduce reliance on foreign currencies and enhance economic sovereignty.

5.Regulation of Bureau De Change (BDC) Operations: CBN implemented stringent regulations on Bureau De Change (BDC) operators to curb their excesses and ensure compliance with foreign exchange policies. Furthermore, the sale of dollars at BDC outlets at a capped rate aimed to enhance accessibility to foreign exchange for legitimate transactions while stabilizing the foreign exchange market.

6.Increase in Benchmark Interest Rate (MPR): CBN raised its benchmark interest rate, known as the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), to 24.75%. This strategic move aimed to attract foreign capital and stabilize the currency, albeit incurring certain costs. The increase in foreign portfolio investment underscores the confidence in Nigeria’s economic prospects.

7.Directive Against Money Transfers in USD: The directive issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria mandated that all money transfers must be paid out in the local currency, Naira, within the country. By promoting the use of the Naira in financial transactions, this measure aimed to deter dollarization and enhance monetary policy effectiveness.

8.Crackdown on Binance: Following allegations of manipulating the foreign exchange rate, Binance faced a government crackdown, leading to the cessation of its Naira services. This decisive action underscores the government’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of the financial system.

Looking ahead, the commencement of operations at the Dangote Refinery holds promise in alleviating pressure on foreign exchange reserves by reducing the need for fuel imports. Additionally, the imminent commencement of operations of other Nigerian-owned refineries and private-owned refineries signifies further stabilization of the Naira.

Furthermore, President Bola Tinubu’s establishment of the Economic Management Team Emergency Taskforce (EET) demonstrates a proactive approach to addressing immediate economic challenges. With a mandate to formulate and implement a consolidated emergency economic plan, this taskforce comprises key government officials and industry leaders, fostering collaboration toward economic resilience and growth.

In conclusion, while challenges persist, Nigeria is on the path to economic recovery through prudent policy interventions and promising prospects. As the Naira stabilizes, investor confidence grows, paving the way for increased foreign direct investment and economic resilience. However, caution must be exercised, and efforts to diversify the economy beyond oil dependency into sectors like mining and agriculture should be accelerated, contingent upon addressing security concerns. With perseverance and strategic reforms, Nigeria can navigate through turbulent times towards a brighter economic future.

Kenechukwu Aguolu FCA
07062136241

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