Nigeria’s top bank will resume foreign exchange (forex) sales to Bureau De Change operators from August 31, it said in a circular released yesterday, in front reopening of the country’s airports for international aviation operations next month.
The Central Bank of Nigeria stopped selling forex to traders in late March as the country was about to enter a four-week coronavirus lockout. It contributed to an increase in the exchange rate on the black market over the course of five months – from ₦$ 395 on March 27 to ₦477 pr. August 27, according to data from Nairametrics.
The decision to start foreign exchange sales is due to the planned resumption of international travel in the country, the bank explained in the statement signed by CBN’s director of trade and exchange department, OS Nnaji. It comes almost three weeks after an adjustment of the official exchange rate.
International flights were originally scheduled to resume on August 29, according to a revelation earlier this week by Aviation Minister Senator Hadi Sirika. But a new date – September 5 – was then announced in a COVID-19 briefing by Musa Shuaibu Nuhu, Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
Forex will now be available for personal travel and business travel allowances as well as other currency-related transactions at a rate of ₦386 pr. Dollars, as revealed by the bank regulator’s revelation. The sale is currently taking place on Mondays and Wednesdays, while BDC accounts are expected to be funded with the naira equivalent on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Commercial banks will also continue to sell forex to fund travel-related ‘invisible transactions’ including school fees and medical tourism, the CBN said. Travelers only need to present their travel documents as proof – passport, visa and ticket – to buy foreign currency over the counter at the official rate.