Godwin Emefiele, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s governor, stated over the weekend that the official foreign exchange receipt from crude oil sales into Nigeria’s official reserves has depleted from over $3.0 billion monthly in 2014 to zero dollar today.
At the 57th annual bankers’ lecture sponsored by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) in Lagos on Saturday, Mr Emefiele said there was a significant loss in foreign reserves due to the naira’s struggle and the rise in demand for forex.
He stated that a severe crisis in the Nigerian foreign exchange market is putting pressure on the country’s reserves and suppressing the value of the naira.
“The official foreign exchange receipt from crude oil sales into our official reserves has dried up steadily from above $3.0 billion monthly in 2014 to an absolute zero dollar today,” he said.
The apex bank governor lamented that “increasing instances of crude oil theft have hurt” Nigeria’s ability to export enough crude oil and “consequently, its foreign exchange reserves are falling.”
Mr Emefiele explained that the inflation rate would continue to be high and beyond the 12.5 per cent threshold that supports growth. But he said CBN would maintain the current tight monetary policy stance in the near term amid rising inflation expectations and exchange market pressures.
In the face of a declining supply of foreign currency, market demand for commodities and invisible transactions has continued to rise across various uses.
The CBN governor claimed that the number of student visas granted to Nigerians by the UK alone climbed from an average of approximately 8,000 per year in 2020 to almost 66,000 in 2022, indicating an eight-fold increase to an annual outflow of $2.5 billion in foreign exchange tied to the UK alone.