CBN Offers $81.2m for PTA, Tuition Fees, SME Segments


Obinna Chima
Following last Friday’s injection of $389 million into the retail segment of the forex market, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday intervened with another $81.2 million in the invisibles and small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) segments of the market.

A breakdown of the interventions indicated that the bank provided the sum of $44 million to meet customers’ requests for invisibles such as Basic Travel Allowances (BTA), Personal Travel Allowances (PTA), medical bills and tuition fees, among others. In addition, the SMEs segment also received a boost of $37.2 million.

The acting Director, Corporate Communications at the CBN, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, confirmed the intervention.
According to him, “The bank remains committed to ensuring that there is enough supply of forex to genuine customers to achieve the goal of forex rates convergence.”

While expressing satisfaction with the current stability in the forex market, Okorafor reiterated his confidence in the ability of the CBN to sustain its interventions in the market.

The CBN had last Friday, sold a total sum of $389 million to authorised dealers in the retail sector of the market as spot and forwards. Of the sum, $87.885 was for spot sales, while $300.8 million was sold as forwards in three tenors of 30, 45 and 60 days, respectively.

But, the naira was still quoted at N391 to the dollar on the parallel market yesterday. However, the naira traded at about N400 to the dollar in deals for investors yesterday two weeks after the new window was opened.

Trading sources told Reuters that investors were demanding rates above N400 per dollar while locals were quoting rates as low as N350. The sources said traders held a conference call last Friday with market regulator FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange to discuss the wide range of quotes on the naira for investors, although the meeting did not produce any resolutions. FMDQ provides daily opening and closing quotes on the naira.

“We have done deals around N400 levels,” one trader said. “Some of the offshores are insisting on N400.”

The central bank said in April it would allow investors to trade the naira at market-determined rates, a move intended to improve the dollar supply and attract foreign investors who bolted from Nigeria at the start of the latest currency crisis.
Meanwhile, the country’s external rose further to $30.984 billion as are May 5, data from the CBN showed.