After weeks of consistent and gradual gains, the nation’s external reserves have increased by $642 million to hit a one-month high of $$24.57 billion, the latest data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has shown.
The increase now brings the stock of reserves to $24.57 billion as at November 24, up from $23.93 billion four weeks ago.
It also closed up a two-month decline of $247 million, after losing $836 million between September ($24.74) and October ($23.91).
All these are in spite of a US$2.3 billion decline in average inflows of foreign exchange into the CBN every month over the last 26 months.
However, the CBN disclosed in its data on foreign exchange utilization for October 2016 that it granted access to about 7,792 requests for foreign exchange, valued at over $867 million through the inter-bank window to source vital raw materials and spare parts.
A summary of the foreign exchange utilization for the month showed that the raw materials sector received the highest allotment, getting access to foreign exchange valued at $355,744,861.05 or 40.99 per cent of the total value of foreign exchange utilization for the month put at $867,834,186.26.
It also showed that manufacturing and petroleum industries got access to $91,276,699.30 and $150,815,804.73, respectively. Companies and other interests in the agricultural sector got access to $13,714,552.83 for the period, while entities in the aviation sector received $10,313,648.29 for the same period.
Further breakdown showed that finished goods and others got allotments of $43,838,044.04 and $10,795,488.92, respectively. Invisibles, comprising of school fees, students’ upkeep and medicals, among others, received $191,335,087.10 or 22.05 per cent of the figure. Commenting on the data, the Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Isaac Okorafor, said the release of the figures underscored the transparency of the bank in Foreign Exchange Management.
According to him, the CBN remained committed to its pledge to ease the foreign exchange pressure on manufacturing and agricultural sectors through forward sales under the new flexible Foreign Exchange regime.
It would be recalled that in the month of September 2016, Manufacturing industries in Nigeria were given access to foreign exchange valued at over $660 million in the inter-bank Market to source raw materials and spare parts for their industries courtesy of the interbank forex market.