In a statement by the Director, Corporate Communications, Mr. Isaac Okorafor in Abuja on Friday, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says market fundamentals do not support Naira devaluation this time around.
Mr. Okorafor expressed dismay at speculative activities at the foreign exchange market from impressions that the CBN would devalue the Naira, thereby triggering panic in the Foreign Exchange Market. He said these rumours were false, unwarranted and calculated to serve dubious and selfish ends.
According to him, CBN has begun a robust and coordinated investigation in collaboration with the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and related agencies to uncover the unscrupulous persons and Foreign Exchange dealers who are creating this panic, and the full weight of our rules and regulations will be meted out to them. This including, but not limited to, being charged for economic sabotage.
Okorafor asserted that: “For nearly four years, the CBN has successfully maintained relative stability in all segments of the foreign exchange market, which has enabled investors, households and other economic agents to plan and to conduct their genuine foreign exchange transactions with relative ease.”
He stated further, that the introduction of several foreign exchange management measures side-by-side with complementary interventions in food production and manufacturing has drastically reduced food importation, which hitherto constituted a large chunk of the pressure on the foreign exchange market.
Mr. Okorafor admitted that the outbreak of the Coronavirus led to the global economic slowdown, fall in the price of crude oil, and less inflow of dollars into Nigeria, the associated public health concerns have also led to factory closures in China, substantial drop in imports, widespread travel restrictions around the world, and cancellation of many conferences, sporting events, business travels, and foreign exchange orders. He affirmed that: “The size of Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves remains robust and comfortable, given the current realities of Nigeria’s genuine and legitimate Foreign Exchange demand. As such, the CBN remains able and willing to meet all genuine demand for foreign exchange for legitimate transactions.”
The director noted that the CBN was also
working with the fiscal authorities to properly and accurately dimension the
immediate and expected impacts of the Coronavirus in order to respond
comprehensively and at the same time, ensure a sound and stable financial
system conducive for job creation and inclusive growth.
In light of current circumstances and macroeconomic
fundamentals, the CBN has not devalued the Naira. According to him, the CBN
will invoke the full weight of applicable sanctions on any persons and
authorised involved in such disruptive and speculative market behaviour.