There were indications yesterday that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is preparing to further adjust the naira’s official rate from N360/$1 to N380/$1 as the apex bank moves closer to its objective of exchange rate unification. According to a report by Nairametrics, the CBN yesterday instructed bidders at its Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS) to increase their bidding price to N380/$1 floor. The SMIS is the market where importers bid for forex using Letters of Credit and Form M.
The financial news site reported sources as saying that the regulator informed banks that they will only accept bids from N380/$1 and above and no longer N360/$1. This means that those who bid lower will not get any forex allocation as lenders who bid higher usually stand a better chance of securing forex. Dealers said the CBN’s move indicates that it is testing the waters for another adjustment of the naira exchange rate as well as a unification of the exchange rates.
The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, had informed investors at a Citibank conference recently that the apex bank was targeting exchange rate unification around the Investors and Exporters’ (I&E) forex window, which is also known as the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEX).
He was quoted by a national daily as saying that: “What we mean by exchange rate unification is moving towards the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEX). Emefiele said: “NAFEX is our dominant market for the purchase and sale of forex and it is a free market where everybody is free to sell their dollars and those who want to buy are free to buy dollars.