Naira Appreciates To N1,419.86/$ At Official Market

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As Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intensifies the move to clear the foreign exchange backlog, Naira on Monday appreciated N1,419.86 against the dollar from N1,435.53 against the dollar it closed for trading last week.

According to the FMDQ Exchange, the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM) window, the Naira appreciated by 1.09 per cent.

Naira at the parallel market rate stood at N1455 against the dollar (buy) and N1466 against the dollar (sell), as the Pound Sterling was trading at N1840.

The Governor CBN, Mr. Yemi Cardoso, has said that about $2.4 billion foreign exchange backlog is not valid for settlement.

In an exclusive interview with Arise Television on Monday, Cardoso clarified that out of the initially reported $7 billion FX liabilities of the federal government, about $2.4 billion were identified as invalid following a forensic audit by Deloitte Management Consultant.

The audit’s findings showed various infractions, including non-existent entities and unauthorized FX allocations, making these liabilities invalid.

According to Cardoso, “We contracted Deloitte Management Consultant to do a forensic of all these obligations and to tell us what was valid and what was not. Of course, we were committed to ensuring that we would pay all valid transactions.

“The result that came out of this was startling in a great respect; it was quite startling. We discovered that of the roughly $7 billion, about $2.4 had issues, which we believed had no business being there – and the infractions from that range from so many things. For example, not having valid import documents and in some cases, even entities that did not exist and in some cases, beneficiaries and account parties that asked for FX and got more than they asked for. And those who didn’t even ask for any and got. So, there was a whole load of infractions there, which I said amounted to about $2.4 billion out of the $7 billion headline figure.”

He also said that the CBN has already settled legitimate FX requests totaling $2.3 billion, leaving an outstanding obligation of approximately $2.2 billion. The governor emphasized the bank’s determination only to honour validly constituted FX requests and to address the outstanding liabilities promptly.

The CBN governor said, “We are not paying if you don’t qualify; they are not validly constituted requests. And of the validly constituted ones, we have settled about $2.3 billion and that applies to the airlines and a whole load of different entities spread throughout our economy – we’ve settled that already.

“And now what remains is about $2.2 billion to be settled and I am confident that we will shortly be addressing those and be able to move on and make progress.

“Now, how are we dealing with those that are not valid?  As they were identified, we wrote to the authorized dealers to come in and explain what the situation was and where the numbers differed. And sadly, quite frankly, I think much of those have not been disputed to our satisfaction.”

Cardoso further said that the balance would be cleared very shortly.