The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has extended the naira for dollar scheme “until further notice”. The bank, in a notice released, yesterday, said that “all aspects of the operationalisation of the programme remain the same.”
The naira-for-dollar scheme, which started on March 8, was originally scheduled to end on May 8, 2020. But the apex bank said the scheme would continue indefinitely. With the scheme, diaspora remittance recipients are rewarded with an extra N5 for every dollar wired through the official routes.
The incentive was introduced to show up remittances and discourage the use of informal windows. The extension of the scheme, which financial experts had dismissed as desperate and unsustainable, comes as the pressure on the naira continues.
As of press time, the naira exchanged for about N490/$ at the black market while the investors’ and exporters’ (I & E) window rate hovers N410/$. Still, the CBN official rate has remained N380/$.
Experts have attributed the manipulation and politicking in the foreign exchange market to the huge differential between the official and parallel markets.
The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had also observed that the other countries were not happy with Nigeria over the multiple rates.
The plan to harmonise the market, as muted by the apex bank since last year, has stalled. The Guardian reported last year that the regulatory body was under political pressure to abandon the rate convergence plan.