Nigeria Clears $2 Billion FX Backlog, as Bank Ration Cash, Crunch Worsens

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Nigeria’s central bank paid about $2 billion of the amount it owed lenders to settle matured foreign-exchange contracts, Thisday newspaper reported.

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The central bank made the overdue payments over three months, and they include $61.64 million to settle part of outstanding liabilities owed to foreign airlines with operations in the country, the Lagos-based newspaper reported, citing the bank.

Government officials estimate the amount of overdue forward payments at about $6.7 billion.

This day puts the figure between $7 billion and $10 billion, without citing sources.

The amount includes at least $744 million owed to foreign airlines as of March last year, according to the International Air Transport Association.

The inability to clear the backlog has weighed on the naira, which has lost more than 50% of its value since it was allowed to trade more freely against the dollar in June last year.

The payment signals the central bank’s commitment to clearing all overdue obligations to reduce the pressure on the naira, according to the newspaper.

Scarcity persists

Checks on Friday in Abuja showed that limits for across-the-counter withdrawals in most commercial banks ranged from N10,000 to N20,000 and the highest, N40,000.

Two first-generation banks in Area 7 and 8, Garki, while the ATMs were without cash, across-the-counter withdrawals were limited to N20,000.

In the same area, a check on second-generation banks branches also in the same area showed that the ATMs were empty while across-the-counter withdrawals were limited to below N10,000 and below N20,000 respectively.

Bank ratio cash
Findings revealed that banks across the country have continued to ration cash withdrawals in the banking halls and through their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) while Point of Sale Operators, PoS, operators, have taken advantage by hiking transaction fees by not less than 100%.

Gbenga Samson
Gbenga Samsonhttp://ThisDayLive.com
Samson Gbenga Salau [Editorial Board Adviser] Gbenga Samuel Salau is a professional journalist with over 17 years experience in journalism, he is a graduate of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan. On completion of his youth service, he joined The Guardian as a freelance journalist and was later absorbed as a staff. While in the University, he was a campus journalist reporting for the Independence Hall and Faculty of Arts Press Clubs. As a campus journalist, he won the following awards; Independence Hall Press Best News writer; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best News Reporter/Writer; First Runner-up, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism; Association of Faculty of Arts Students’ Press Best Reporter; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Political Writer; Winner, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism, and University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Interviewer. He served the Association of Communication and Language Arts Students, as the Public Relation Officer, the same year he was appointed the News Editor of the Association of Faculty of Arts Students Press. The following session, he was made the General Editor, and a member of the 13-man University of Ibadan Students’ Union Transition Committee. As a reporter in The Guardian, in 2014, he won the Promasidor Quill Award Best Report on Nutrition and DAME Business Reporting category. In the 2015 edition of the Promasidor Quill Award, he won the best Report on Nutrition and Brand Advocate Categories, while in 2016, he won the NMMA Print Journalist of the Year, first runner-up Golden Pen Reporter of the Year and SERAs CSR Awards. Gbenga Salau loves traveling, reading, and listening to songs with good lyrics no matter the genre.

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