ABUJA Feb 20 – Nigeria’s central bank will sell dollars to consumers at 20 percent above the interbank rate, as part of an effort to reduce the premium people pay on the black market, the bank said on Monday.
Nigeria has been running short of dollars as its oil revenues fell along with the price of crude. That has driven the naira on the official interbank market to 305 naira to the dollar. The black market charges a premium of about 40 percent.
“Given our plan to meet all unfilled orders … we will no longer impose allocation/utilization rules on commercial banks,” the bank said in a statement, announcing the new retail rules.
However, dollar supply for manufacturers remained its top priority, the central bank said. Importers have been forced to buy dollars on the black market to pay for spare parts and raw materials.
In Nigeria, retail customers buy dollars from licensed bureaux de change. However, those bureaux have tended to get dollars from private sources to resell at a much higher margin.