The declining fortunes of the naira in the parallel market worsened yesterday as it lost N4 against the dollar with the parallel market exchange rate closing at N230 per dollar.
Consequently, the naira has depreciated by N10 against the dollar since last Tuesday when the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, excluded importation of rice, cement and other 39 items from the foreign exchange market.
“For the avoidance of doubt, please note that the importation of these items are not banned. Thus, importers desirous of importing these items shall do so using their funds without recourse to the Nigerian foreign exchange markets,” the apex bank said in a circular issued, Tuesday.
In interbank trading, the naira advanced 0.1 per cent to N198.85 per dollar at 12.05 p.m. in Lagos. The nation’s foreign currency reserves have declined 16 per cent to $29 billion this year.
The restricted items account for as much as $6 billion of goods imported every quarter, according to, Aminu Gwadabe, President, Association of Bureaus de Change of Nigeria, saying: “The ban is putting pressure on naira on the streets.”
Faced with a 45 percent plunge since last year’s peak in the price of oil, the source of two-thirds of government revenue, the CBN began imposing currency restrictions as pressure mounted on the naira. The Nigerian currency has weakened 18 percent against the dollar in the past year.