The country’s external reserves fell by $427.14m in one month, figures obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria revealed on Monday.
This is as the crisis in the country’s currency worsened over the scarcity of the new naira notes.
Figures obtained from the CBN on the movement of foreign reserves showed that the reserves, which stood at $37.21bn as of January 18, fell to $36.79bn as of the end of February 16, 2023.
Last year, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, after announcing the plan to redesign the naira notes, said one of the objectives of the policy was to mop up currency outside the bank vaults.
He urged Nigerians to make use of alternative payment channels that would drive the digital payment systems in the country.
But due to the scarcity of the new naira notes after the deadline, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), directed that the old N200 note should be re-circulated, adding that it would remain legal tender until April 10, 2023.
The Deposit Money Banks also commenced the collection of old N500 and N1,000 on Friday, this was even without giving the depositors new naira notes in return.
Due to the hardship ocassioned by the scarcity, pockets of protests triggered in the country which had led to the loss of lives and property.
The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association had said in a statement that, “In the last few weeks, with the cash squeeze and the purchasing ability of Nigerians greatly impaired by the shameless implementation of the policy, the economy has witnessed a significant bashing with a report stating that the real sector witnessed about 40 per cent drop in productive activities. As the cash crush continues, thousands of productive hours are lost daily on queues by employees and many cannot even get to work.”
The Governor, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, in 2022, launched the ‘RT200 FX Programme’ to boost forex supply in the country through the non-oil sector in the next three to five years.
“The RT200 FX Programme is a set of policies, plans and programmes for non-oil exports that will enable us to attain our lofty yet attainable goal of $200bn in FX repatriation, exclusively from non-oil exports, over the next three to five years,” he said.