Return to business is imminent amongst the independent petroleum marketers as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has given strong signal to sell dollars to them and the airline operators.
According to the apex bank, fuel importers, manufacturers, airlines and agriculture businesses will be able to buy dollars at a special market intervention to clear a backlog of foreign exchange obligations now due.
The bank also hinted of its plans to settle the bids through a combination of spot and short-term forward deals, currency traders said, citing a notice from the bank. It did not specify the amount of dollars to be sold.
CBN in a notice to lenders said “Authorised dealers’ accounts with the central bank will be debited in full for the naira equivalent of the dollar bid amount on a spot basis”.
It would be recalled that for too long now, several independent marketers had shun imports of products, leaving the heavy load of importing nearly 100 per cent of petroleum products used in the country due to scarcity of forex and inability of the apex bank to include them in its forex window.
Business Hilights recalls that CBN has been selling dollars since February in an effort to improve liquidity and narrow the spread between the official and black market exchange rates for the naira. Close to $5 billion has been sold, and finance analysts are upbeat that clear signs of convergence of both official and black market rates as soon as possible.