CBN Building, Abuja.
By Racheal Ishaya
The external reserves of Nigeria has grown, hitting a record high of $46 billion, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said on Sunday.
The Acting Director, Corporate Communication, CBN, Mr Isaac Okoroafor, said that the reserves grew by about $3.2 billion between February and March 2018.
He said that the reserves at the beginning of 2018 stood at $39.3 billion then rose to $42.8 billion in February before hitting the new high of $46 billion.
Okoroafor attributed the continued accretion to the country’s reserves to the Bank’s effort at vigorously discouraging unnecessary importation and reducing the nation’s import Bill, inflow from oil and non-oil exports.
He also attributed the increase to the huge inflows through the investors and exporters window of the foreign exchange market, which he said had attracted over $33 billion since April 2017, when it was created.
According to him, the Bank’s interventions in the foreign exchange window has also helped to moderate the pressure on the foreign exchange reserves by sustaining liquidity in the market and boosting production and trade.
Okoroafor also said that the CBN policy restricting access to foreign exchange from Nigeria’s foreign exchange market to importers of some 41 items had made a huge impact on the status of Nigeria’s reserves.
Aside that, he said that the policy had also boosted the supply of local substitutes for imported goods, created jobs at home and enhanced the incomes of farmers and local manufacturers.
Meanwhile, the Bank again cautioned Nigerians to be wary of investments in crypto currency as they are virtual currencies that are not legal tender in Nigeria.
Okoroafor said crypto currencies such as Bitcoin, Ripples, Monero, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Onecoin, and Exchanges such as NairaEx were not licensed or regulated by the CBN.
Okoroafor said that dealers and investors in any kind of crypto currency in Nigeria were not protected by law, thus may be unable to seek legal redress in event of failure of the exchangers or collapse of the business.
The CBN further warned Nigerians against investing in crypto currencies as doing so would be at their own risk.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the CBN had in Jan. 12, 2017, issued a circular to banks and other financial institutions on virtual currency operations in Nigeria.
In the 2017 circular signed by the Director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Kevin Amugo, the CBN had among other issues noted that virtual currencies were traded in exchange platforms that were not regulated all over the world.
Amugo further noted that transactions in virtual transactions were largely untraceable and anonymous, thereby, making them susceptible to abuse by criminals in money laundering and financing of terrorism.