Naira pares losses in parallel market as bank CEOs expect more gains
The naira appreciated to N520 to a dollar on the parallel market on Thursday after hitting a four-year low of N525 to a dollar the previous day, according to data from Abokifx, a platform that collates prices.
The currency had slumped after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) shocked the market with a decision to halt a long standing practice of selling of dollars to Bureau De Change (BDC) operators and channel the funds to banks.
The naira is expected to strengthen even more in the coming weeks, according to Nigerian bank CEOs who said at a virtual media briefing Thursday that there would be no additional cost charged to the rate at which they sold dollars bought from CBN unlike the BDCs who keep a spread.
“You would expect the naira to strengthen on the back of this new policy since the banks are not allowed to charge extra on dollar sales to end users,” Segun Agbaje, the CEO of GT Bank said.
“If we buy from the CBN at N412/$ that’s the price we will sell to customers and because the banks are well regulated no bank can contravene the CBN’s guidelines by selling above that price, the banks will run a very transparent system,” Agbaje said.
The bank CEOs which included Herbert Wigwe of Access Bank, Segun Agbaje of Guaranty Trust Bank and Patrick Akinwuntan of Ecobank, also assured customers that the banks were capable of taking on the new role given to them by the CBN thanks to their wider reach compared to that of the BDCs.
They also said the banks will not rely solely on CBN supply but would leverage their resources to make dollars readily available to customers.
The naira opened at N411.67 to a dollar at the Investors and Exporters window, Friday.