Says it has enough forex
•As MPC retains rate at 11.5 %
By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assured members of the public that there was enough foreign exchange for them to meet their obligations.
This comes against recent complaints from a cross section of the private sector, especially manufacturers, over difficulty in obtaining forex for importation of production inputs as well as repatriation of dividend by foreign investors and payment of school fees of Nigerians schooling abroad.
Giving the assurance in Abuja at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee, MPC, meeting yesterday, the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, disclosed that the nation’s foreign reserve rose to $36. 5billion as at the end of last month, from $34.5billion in the preceding month.
He stated: “There is enough foreign exchange for people to meet their obligations. If you have forex obligations, they will be met. There is no need to panic or for everyone to rush to the bank at the same time and create an atmosphere of panic and give some people the opportunity to rip-off innocent people.
“CBN disburses not less than $80 million to banks weekly. In fact we will create a help-desk where people can call the CBN directly to complain if they need forex to pay school fees or BTA and say, ‘I went to such and such a bank and was told there is no forex.’”
Emefiele also explained that the nation has not changed its foreign exchange management policy, as the apex bank has continued to adopt the managed-floating strategy.
His words, “Nigeria has not changed its foreign exchange policy. CBN has continued to watch the market and intervenes depending on its readings.
“It might interest you to know that CBN has not intervened in the E&I (Export and Import) Window since January. The exchange rate has moved at a point to N409 /$1, N412/$1 and even N413/$1. That is how it should be.”
Retains policy rates
Meanwhile, the MPC held the Monetary Policy Rate, MPR, at 11.5 per cent and retained all other parameters by maintaining the Asymmetric Corridor of +100/-700 basis points around the MPR; Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 27.5 per cent; and the Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent.
With an inflation rate of 17. 33 per cent and a desire to stimulate growth in an economy that has just exited recession, Emefiele admitted that the MPC faced a dilemma at yesterday’s meeting.
He, however, disclosed that after exhaustive deliberations on whether to cut, hold or raise the MPR, the majority of the members chose to hold the rate with all its parameters.
He stated: “We were faced with contradictions. Tight monetary policy makes credit difficult and so people will not be able to easily access capital to stimulate output growth. As rising inflation confronts you, you want to take steps to reduce the rate of inflation. But if you do, then growth is affected.
“The country just managed to crawl out of recession. Should monetary policy be tightened in a way that will be a disincentive to activities that will stimulate output growth and therefore reverse us back into recession or should we continue to stimulate the economic growth?
“MPC deliberated on these and decided that we should continue to do those things that we did and more intesenly those things that took us out of recession: intervene in agriculture; ICT, services, the creative industry and health.”