Foreign Education, Medical Tourism Pressure Naira, Says Cardoso

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The Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, CBN, Yemi Cardoso, on Tuesday told federal lawmakers that foreign education and medical tourism piled pressure on the Naira.

Cardoso, who faced a difficult time convincing the House of Representatives about his capability to turn around the fortune of the Naira, the Nigerian currency, stated that over 100,000 Nigerian students are currently studying outside the country, and they spent $28.5 billion outside the country between 2010 and 2020.

The same goes for medical tourism on which Nigerians spent $11.06 billion within the same period.

Nigerians including lawmakers have expressed dissatisfaction over the downward spiral of the Nigerian currency in the past couple of months. Cardoso, however in his presentation before the House, explained the challenges facing the naira including the pressure from demand by students studying outside the country.

“Foreign education expenses amounted to a substantial US$28.65 billion, as per the CBNs’ publicly available Balance of Payments Statistics,” he said.

Many of the lawmakers who spoke at the session, expressed concern about the handling of the naira, the relocation of some CBN departments to Lagos and the removal of 43 items from the FX window.

A member of the House, Sada Soli said the lifting of the ban would lead to importation of items Nigerians can produce locally.

“The removal would lead to the importation of cement and other items into this country,” Soli, a lawmaker from Katsina State said.

Responding to the 43 items, Cardoso said the Central Bank backed the removal of the items because it is the duty of the Ministry of Finance import and export policies.

“CBN does not have a responsibility to determine who imports or not, for that reason we want to ensure that we abide by our remit.

“The issue is not for us to determine. That is a fiscal issue, it has nothing to do with us. We are going back to do what we are supposed to be doing,” he said.