The nation’s external reserves currently stand at $40.4 billion – its highest level since October 2014. This represents an increase of about $1 billion between December 2017 and January 2018.
Isaac Okorafor, spokesman of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), who disclosed this in a statement on Monday, said the new figure makes true, the projection which Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, made at the annual bankers’ dinner of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIBN) in November 2017.
Okorafor said the increase recorded is a result of the bank’s strategy to “manage forex demand by various sectors of the economy”.
Citing the CBN policy restricting access to forex from the Nigerian forex market by importers of some 41 items as the major turning point, Okorafor said the policy had helped to stop the hemorrhaging of the country’s external reserves, which hitherto witnessed heavy depletion due to huge import bills and other debt obligations.
Okorafor said the CBN forex restriction policy has ensured that the nation’s import bill reduced from $5 billion monthly to $1.5 billion in 2017.
He added that the CBN also injected $210 million into the interbank foreign exchange market.
A breakdown of the figure showed that the CBN offered $100m to the wholesale sector while the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and invisibles windows each received $55 million.