CENTRAL Bank of Nigeria
must step up efforts to
unify the country’s multiple
exchange rates to sustain
gains in the local currency
over the last few months,
the head of the country’s
exchange bureaus said.
Africa’s biggest economy
has at least six exchange
rates which include one for
Muslim pilgrims going to
Saudi Arabia, a retail rate
set by licensed exchange
bureaus, and a rate for
foreign travel and school
fees, in addition to the official
and black market rates.
Nigeria is battling a
currency crisis brought on by
low oil prices which tipped
its economy into recession
and created chronic dollar
shortages. It wants to
attract foreign investors and
strengthen its currency to
ward off inflation.
The central bank has been
intervening on the official
market in the last few weeks
to try to narrow the spread
between rates on the official
market and black market
– where the local currency
trades around 30 percent
weaker. It has sold about $5
billion since February.
The bank opened a
currency window in April for
investors to trade the naira
at rates set freely between
buyers and sellers, hoping
to increase the amount of
dollars available in Nigeria.
“The gradual convergence
of the exchange rate on
both black market and
investor forex window
is an opportunity for the
central bank to unify rate
in all segments of the forex
market,” Aminu Gwadabe,
president of the country’s
Association of Bureaux
De Change Operators told
Reuters late on Thursday.
Gwadabe said a move
to eliminate multiple rates
would restore investors’
confidence in the economy
and boost offshore
dollar inflows, further
strengthening the naira.
Central bank spokesman
Isaac Okorafor said the
regulator would sustain its
current efforts to improve
dollar liquidity in the market

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