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CBN Goes After Abokifx, Freezes Bank Accounts for Publishing Black Market Rates

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Abokifx - Investors King

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed deposit money banks to freeze all the bank accounts associated with AbokiFX and its owner, Oniwinde Olusegun Adedotun, for publishing foreign exchange rates other than the rates determined by the CBN.

The apex bank had warned publishers to desist from publishing forex rates determined by the unregulated parallel market, popularly known as the black market, where speculators and hoarders largely manipulate the nation’s foreign exchange rates as seen in recent weeks.

In an email to publishers by the NGN Project, presumably acting on behalf of the CBN, the organisation had quoted section 11 sub-section 1(c) and 2 (a,b) of the National Economic Intelligence Committee Act of 2004 that stated “it shall be an offence for any person, association of individuals or body corporate (whether public or private) to publish or cause to be published exchange and interest rates other than the rates determined by the Bank from time to time.”

The Act stipulated N100,000 fine or imprisonment for a term of two years or both for individual and N500,000 fine and suspension or revocation of certificate of registration or cerificate of incorporation for association or individuals or corporate body.

This was after the central bank halted the sale of forex to bureau de change operators after accusing them of aiding the activities of criminals at the unregulated black market and been a channel for illicit financial flow. The move, which resulted in chronic forex scarcity and all time high foreign exchange rate, has forced the apex bank to go after publishers in effort to discourage people from patronising the black market and to force Nigerians to reject the unreasonable exchange rate of N567 to a United States Dollar and approach their banks for N412 to N415 per US Dollars.

Despite covid-19 challenges and limited forex generation, the apex bank has continued to support the Nigerian Naira and go after forex manipulators.

The NGN Project had described AbokiFX.com and its owner has criminals ‘committing crimes against the Nigerian state’. See the email CBN sent to publishers below.

 

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Naira

Naira Gained 0.08 Percent to N414.73 Against the United States Dollar on Monday

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Naira - Investors King

The Nigerian Naira gained against the United States Dollar on Monday after falling to a record low of N422 per US dollar on Friday at the official forex window.

The local currency opened at N414.46 to a United States Dollar, a 0.15 percent improvement from Friday’s closing price.

Naira dropped as low as N425 to a United States Dollar at the spot forex market and to N429.50 at the forward forex market before closing at N414.73 to a United States Dollar at the spot forex market. Forex traders traded $172 million at the official forex window on Monday.

Forex scarcity across key foreign exchange segments and the decision of the central bank of Nigeria to halt the sale of forex to Bureau de Change operators continue to impede forex access in Africa’s largest economy.

Vice President Osinbajo had suggested that the apex bank should look to adopt a new forex policy to better close the gap between the black market and official rates. At the unregulated black market, traders are selling at N570 to US dollar.

This, the Vice President said was what was sustaining the black market.

For context, the Vice President’s point was that currently the Naira exchange rate benefits only those who are able to obtain the dollar at N410, some of who simply turn round and sell to the parallel market at N570. It is stopping this huge arbitrage of over N160 per dollar that the Vice President was talking about. Such a massive difference discourages doing proper business, when selling the dollar can bring in 40% profit!, stated Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Office of the Vice President.

“This was why the Vice President called for measures that would increase the supply of foreign exchange in the market rather than simply managing demand, which opens up irresistible opportunities for arbitrage and corruption.”

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Naira

Naira Plunges to Record Low of N422/US$1 at Official Market

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Naira Dollar Exchange Rate - Investors King

The Nigerian Naira extended its decline to N422 to a United States Dollar at the official forex market, the investors and exporters forex window managed by the FMDQ Group.

Naira opened the day at N413.50 to a US Dollar before plunging to as low as N436 at the spot forex market and N446 at the forward market. The local currency eventually closed the day at N422.07 per US Dollar.

Investors at the window traded $141.94 million during the trading hours of Thursday.

The decline was after Vice President Osinbajo asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to rethink its current forex policy and allow the Naira to reflect market conditions. This, the Vice President said will help close the current gap that exists between the official rate and black market rate.

Media outlets had interpreted the Vice President position as a call for further devaluation of the Nigerian Naira. However, in a statement signed by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Akande explained that Osinbajo is simply calling for a single forex rate to dislodge the activities of speculators and hoarders at the various unregulated black market.

He added that the 40 percent or N160 arbitrage difference between the official rate of N410 and N570 offered at the black market will continue to encourage corruption in the forex market.

“For context, the Vice President’s point was that currently the Naira exchange rate benefits only those who are able to obtain the dollar at N410, some of who simply turn round and sell to the parallel market at N570. It is stopping this huge arbitrage of over N160 per dollar that the Vice President was talking about. Such a massive difference discourages doing proper business, when selling the dollar can bring in 40% profit!

“This was why the Vice President called for measures that would increase the supply of foreign exchange in the market rather than simply managing demand, which opens up irresistible opportunities for arbitrage and corruption.”

At the black market, traders exchanged Naira at N565 to a United States Dollar on Thursday.

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Naira

Osinbajo Explains Why Forex Policy Should Discourage Arbitrage and Corruption

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Naira Exchange Rates - Investors King

Following Vice President Yemi Osinbajo suggestions that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should rethink its present forex policy that encourages arbitrage and corruption and allow the Nigerian Naira to reflect market realities that were misconstrued as devaluation by the media, the Vice President has now come out to clear the air that he is not calling for a devaluation of the embattled Naira but to close the arbitrage gap of 40 percent gain that existed between CBN rate of N410/US$1 and the black market rate of N570.

In a statement released by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Office of the Vice President, the Vice President position was that the current Naira exchange rate benefits only those who are able to access the US Dollar at N410, “some of who simply turn round and sell to the parallel market at N570. It is stopping this huge arbitrage of over N160 per dollar that the Vice President was talking about. Such a massive difference discourages doing proper business, when selling the dollar can bring in 40% profit!,” the statement reads.

It continues “This was why the Vice President called for measures that would increase the supply of foreign exchange in the market rather than simply managing demand, which opens up irresistible opportunities for arbitrage and corruption.

“It is a well known fact that foreign investors and exporters have been complaining that they could not bring foreign exchange in at N410 and then have to purchase foreign exchange in the parallel market at N570 to meet their various needs on account of unavailability of foreign exchange. Only a more market reflective exchange rate would ameliorate this. With an increase in the supply of dollars the rates will drop and the value of the Naira will improve.

“The real issue confronting the economy on this matter is how to improve the supply of foreign exchange, but this will not happen if we do not allow mechanisms like the Importers and Exporters window to work. If we allow this market mechanism to work as intended, we will find that the Naira will appreciate against the dollar as we restore confidence in the system.”

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