CBN clears $7bn in FX transactions to erase legacy backlog

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced that all real foreign exchange backlogs of $7 billion have been resolved, fulfilling a major pledge made by its Governor, Mr. Olayemi Cardosoo.

Mrs. Hakama Sidi Ali, Acting Director, Corporate Communications at the apex bank, said in an Abuja statement on Wednesday that independent auditors from Deloitte Consulting thoroughly scrutinized these transactions to ensure that only genuine claims were honored.

She noted that the CBN has recently completed the payment of $1.5 billion to repay obligations to bank clients, effectively resolving the remaining balance of the FX backlog.

At a recent meeting, Governor Cardoso declared: “We made clearing the FX backlog a priority to restore credibility and confidence in the Nigerian economy.

“It was important that we go through an independent and credible process that would determine the authenticity of those obligations, and, at this point, I can tell you that we have now cleared all genuine, verifiable transactions. This encumbrance to market confidence in the country’s ability to meet its obligations is now totally behind us,” he added.

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Clearance of the foreign exchange transactions backlog is part of the overall strategy detailed in last month’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting to stabilise the exchange rate and thereby curb imported inflation, spurring confidence in the banking system and the economy.

Cardoso used the MPC meeting and a subsequent conference call with foreign portfolio investors to set expectations for sustained increases in Nigeria’s foreign currency reserves and improved liquidity in the foreign exchange market.

The CBN followed this month by reporting a significant increase in external reserves, rising by $993 million to $34.11 billion as of March 7, 2024, the highest level in eight months.

The month-on-month increase was driven by a marked advance in remittance payments by Nigerians overseas, as well as higher purchases of local assets, including government debt securities, by foreign investors.

 

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