The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it has resumed sales of dollars to SMEs who need foreign exchange for essential imports, as well as Nigerian students in foreign schools who need to pay their school fees.
This comes as the wide-wide COVID-19 lockdown begins to ease up, even as business activities are expected to gradually return to normal.
According to a brief statement that was signed by the CBN’s Director of Corporate Communications, Isaac Okoroafor, the apex bank will provide over $100 million per week for the two categories of dollar consumers mentioned above.
Note that the dollars will be made available to all commercial banks in the country for onward sales to those who need them urgently. Part of the statement said:
“In view of the gradual easing of the COVID-19 lockdown both globally and in Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has resumed provision of foreign exchange to all commercial banks for onward sales to parents wishing to pay school feels and students and SMEs wishing to make essential imports needed to revamp economic activities across the country. In particular, the CBN is resuming the provision of over USD$ 100 per week for both categories.”
The statement further revealed that the CBN has also resumed dollar sales to bureaux de change (BDC) operators in Nigeria. This is expected to help meet dollar demands for business and personal travels, as well as for dollar needs for retail purposes.
In view of the foregoing, the apex bank said Nigerians can be assured that there is no need to worry about dollar shortage.
“There is therefore no need for panic by any end-user that could necessitate recourse to illegitimate sources and spike in foreign exchange rates,” the statement said.
In the meantime, the CBN said it has intensified its surveillance efforts in a bid to detect the activities of market speculators, Forex smugglers, and illegal users. Those found guilty will be prosecuted.