Nigeria imported $227million worth of sugar in the first seven months of this year, according to the central bank.
The highest monthly value of imports of $79.1 million was recorded in June, a Central Bank of Nigeria monthly compilation of funds used for sugar imports obtained by Bloomberg News showed Wednesday.
The amounts are for raw sugar as well “chemically pure glucose and glucose syrup not containing fructose,” according to the document.
The central bank ditched its 16-month old peg on the naira in June and introduced a flexible exchange rate regime to allow the currency to trade freely on the interbank market.
But dollar liquidity has remained a concern in the system with periodic intervention by the central bank. The central bank has told lenders to set aside extra provisions against their dollar loans.
While the naira closed at N314.14 to the dollar on the interbank forex market yesterday, on the parallel market, the nation’s currency went for N394 to the dollar wednesday.
The central bank on Tuesday resolved to raise the amount of weekly foreign currency which banks are authorised to sell to Bureau de Change operators (BDCs) to $50,000 from the initial $30,000.
Speaking at the Bankers’ Committee meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, the Group Managing Director, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Kennedy Uzoka, said following the feedback from the market, the committee decided to effect an upward review in dollar sale to BDCs. He said the increase would make more cash available to BDCs and increase the supply which would help to drive down price.
Accessing forex had been a topical issue for Nigerians in recent times and the CBN had been evolving various methods to douse the situation.
Oil currencies have been hammered since crude prices crashed in mid-2014, and none more so than the naira, according to a Bloomberg report. It’s lost almost half its value against the dollar, the most among the currencies of OPEC members and more than Russia’s ruble, which is down 47 percent. For foreign investors, that may be a cue to re-enter the West African country as a weaker currency makes its bonds and stocks cheaper.