On this day, 62 years ago, Nigeria got her independence from the defunct British Empire. The country did not however adopt a new currency until 1973. On the 1st of January 1973, the British pound was officially changed to the Naira as Nigerian currency at an exchange rate of £1 to N2.
Nigerian naira was very strong at the time that it was ranked ahead of the U.S Dollar. To buy one dollar in 1973, you needed just 65 kobo. Between 1973 to 1985, the Naira was so strong that you never needed up to a naira to buy a dollar.
In fact, in 1980, all you needed to buy a dollar was just 55 kobo.
However, in 1986, as a twist of fate, Nigeria found itself in a perilous situation. The economy started declining after the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida requested a bailout from multilateral financial institutions.
The International Monetary (IMF) was Babangida’s point of call. However, like a devil, IMF would not give him something without taking something in return. IMF gave him a Second Tier Foreign Exchange Market (SFEM) as part of the reform that Nigeria must undertake.
As a military desperado who was looking for a bailout and international acceptance, Babangida obliged to the conditions.
SFEM, thereafter, served as Nigeria’s second official foreign exchange market which was opened to both Nigerians and foreigners.
Before SFEM, it was the sole duty of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to fix the exchange rate. The CBN at the time was meticulous in its job by restricting importation and implementing closely monitored foreign exchange control. These had helped the naira to trade fairly strongly against the dollar in the 1970s and early 1980s.
It was popularly believed that IMF was not comfortable with the CBN’s oversight over the foreign exchange.
By and large, by the end of 1986, the dollar had risen against the naira by more than 100%. In 1987, you will need N4 to buy $1. In 1989, it was N7.39 kobo to $1. By the time General Ibrahim Babangida left power in 1993, the naira had dramatically stumbled against the dollar, exchanging at N17 to $1.
The Naira decline did not stop with the exit of General Ibrahim Babangida. By the time he left the Aso Rock, Nigeria’s economy was already in shambles. His exit which people hoped will bring some relief only brought more hardship as General Sanni Abacha overthrew the interim government of Chief Earnest Shonekan.
Abacha’s regime was characterised by widespread embezzlement of public funds in dollars. There was corruption in almost all facets of the economy. From government offices to banking institutions. Little wonder the country still receives some of his oversea stash funds to date.
General Sanni Abacha closely monitored the CBN and ensured the dollar was majorly made available to himself and his friends. The CBN introduced the Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market in 1985 to closely monitor the movement of dollars. The thirst for importation drastically reduced which made the official rate of naira to dollar stand around N22 to $1 for five years which Abacha used in power before his death.
However, the commercial banks picked a flaw to exploit AFEM. Since the CBN’s AFEM requires all commercial banks to request dollars from the CBN, bankers came up with what was known as ‘blended’ rate.
For instance, if an importer requests $2 million from its bank, the bank will inflate the figure to $5 million knowing full well that CBN will likely not approve the full request. If CBN approves $3 million, the bank thereafter will pay their client and take the remaining $1 million to the black market where they can make more profit from dollar arbitrage.
At this time, the black market otherwise known as the parallel market was booming and striving hard. Many banks made fortunes from this dollar arbitrage.
In 1999, when Nigeria returned to democracy, the Olusegun Obasanjo regime met naira to dollar exchange at N22 but by the time he left in 2007, you will need N125 to buy $1. The fall of naira has since then continued till date.
At the close of the market on Friday 30th of September 2022, $1 was sold for N432 at the Importers and Exporters Window (I&E) while $1 was sold for N737 on the black market.
It would be recalled that the present administration met dollar to naira exchange at the rate of N197 to $1.
Investors King had earlier reported that naira has lost more than 100% of its value since the beginning of this administration. Little wonder it was ranked 11th worst performing currency in the world and 3rd worst performing currency in Africa.
CBN Will Redesign Naira Notes Every Five to Eight Years; Say Emefiele
The central bank will henceforth redesign the nation’s legal tender every five to eight years
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has said the bank will henceforth redesign the nation’s legal tender every five to eight years.
The apex bank governor revealed at the unveiling of the new naira notes on Tuesday.
Godwin Emefiele explained that the naira redesign is in line with global best practice noting that the naira needed to be redesigned and re-issued every five to eight years.
According to the CBN governor, previous administrations lacked the political will to approve the redesign of the naira notes. Stating that it is regrettable that the naira has not been redesigned for the past 19 years.
“In the past, I have to confess that attempts by the CBN to redesign and re-issue the naira notes have been resisted. It is only President Muhammadu Buhari that has exhibited the courage to do so,” the CBN governor stated.
Emefiele added that going forward, naira notes will be redesigned at intervals to address some peculiar issues.
“After today, the CBN will begin to redesign and reissue the naira every five to eight years,” he said.
Investors King had earlier reported that President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the redesigned naira notes at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting today.
Among those who joined the president with the unveiling include the CBN governor and the EFCC chairman.
Recall, in October, the CBN announced it will redesign the N200, N500 and N1,000 notes in line with its mandate.
Meanwhile, the CBN governor has disclosed that the new naira notes can not be counterfeited because of the features embedded in them.
Similarly, he added that security agencies would be monitoring people making withdrawals at the counter to sniff out money laundering and unravel illegal usage.
“The CBN has moved to a cashless economy. We will restrain the volume of cash someone will withdraw over the counter. We will follow up with the person’s data to know the reason for such withdrawal,” he concluded.
President Buhari Unveils New Redesigned Naira Notes, See Pictures
Buhari launched the new naira notes as the CBN forges ahead with redesign plans.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday unveiled the new redesigned Naira notes at the State House in Abuja following a series of sensitisation to ensure that Nigerians are aware of the deadline for the old notes.
Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, who was also present at the launching explained that the redesigned notes would help curb counterfeit, reduce hoarding and support the apex bank’s cashless policy.
Earlier in October, the central bank announced it was redesigning the N200, N500 and N1,000 notes in line with its mandate. The apex bank further stated that the newly redesigned notes would be available on December 15, 2022.
However, Emefiele later announced the central bank won’t wait until December 15th before unveiling the new notes on November 2023.
He said, “100 days is enough for any person from any part of Nigeria to deposit his money in the bank and get his money when the new notes are released.
“For information, indeed, we are no longer waiting till December 15th to unveil and begin to release the new notes.
“By the special grace of God, tomorrow, which is the 23rd of November 2022, the President has graciously accepted to unveil the new currencies and the new currencies will be unveiled tomorrow at the Federal Executive Chamber by 10am.”
Meanwhile, the central bank-led monetary policy committee raised interest rates by another 100 basis points from 15.5% to 16.5%. Bringing the total increase in 2022 to 500 basis points despite the challenges Nigerians are facing amid weak job creation and poor earnings.
The committee claimed the decision was based on the rising inflation rate that rose to 21.09% in October. However, given Nigeria’s economic structure and current situation, the persistent increase was mainly to lure foreign investors to invest in the economy against the developed economies that are equally raising rates to curb escalating inflation.
President Buhari to Launch New Naira Notes Today
CBN says Buhari is expected to introduce redesigned naira notes to the public today at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja.
Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari is expected to launch the redesigned naira notes today at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja.
The launch will precede the circulation of the affected currency which is billed for December 15, 2022. The FEC meeting is a weekly (Wednesday) meeting of the executive arm of government often presided over by the President or the Vice President.
The Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele disclosed on the sidelines of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held in Abuja on Tuesday, that the new naira notes will be displayed for public view on Wednesday.
Therefore, the governor added that the CBN will not shift its deadline for all old notes to be returned to commercial banks in exchange for newly designed ones.
Investors King recalls that in October 2022, the central bank announced it will issue redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 notes, effective December 15, 2022, while the new and existing currencies will remain legal tender and circulate together until January 31, 2023.
However, in a sudden change of schedule, the CBN governor noted that the unveiling will be done by the president today stating that the bank will no longer wait till December 15th to unveil and begin to release the new notes.
” By the special grace of God, tomorrow, (today) which is the 23rd of November 2022, the President has graciously accepted to unveil the new currencies and the new currencies will be unveiled tomorrow at the Federal Executive Chamber by 10am.” Emefiele started.
Meanwhile, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) which is the highest decision-making body for any issues related to Nigerian monetary policy has hiked the interest rates from 15.5 percent to 16.5 percent.
According to CBN, the hike in interest rate is to curtain inflation and maintain economic stability.
Speaking at the end of a two-day Monetary Policy Committee meeting yesterday, the CBN governor noted that the MPC voted to retain the cash reserve ratio at 32.5 percent and the liquidity ratio at 30 percent.
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