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Naira strengthens further to N517 as dollar demand slows

Nigeria’s currency on Friday strengthened further by 0.57 percent to N517 per dollar compared with N520/$ it closed Thursday, at the parallel market.

Naira firmed to N520 on Thursday after the Nigerian banks’ chief executives agreed to provide dollars for Personal Travel Allowance (PTA), Business Travel Allowance (BTA), school fees, and other legitimate needs to end-users.

An investigation by BusinessDay shows that a dollar is priced at N510 in some parts of Lagos streets where the black market operators, popularly called Abokis, are operating.

Some of the traders noted that there has been low demand for the dollar. “People are not buying, the market is quiet, they are not sure of where the rate will settle,” a black market operator said.

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While responding to question on the exchange rate depreciating after the Central Bank’s announcement to stop dollar sales to Bureau De Change (BDC) operators on Tuesday, Segun Agbaje, Chief Executive Officer of Guarantee Holdco (GTCo), said “What we saw in the market on Wednesday and Thursday was an aberration. The rate will come down. Very soon, you will buy at N423 or N425 at most”. He said people can start working in any bank branch to initiate their requests.

Nigerian deposit money banks on Thursday assured the public of their readiness to carry out the function of providing foreign exchange services to customers as directed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Herbert Wigwe, the group managing director/CEO of Access Bank, said the banking industry as a whole is willing, ready, and able to carry out this function.

“Banks have very strict compliance in terms of Know Your Customer (KYC) and all of that. In terms of verification and making sure that people who apply are eligible, the banks more than any other institution are ready to do it and so we are going to provide this service,” he said.

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