Nigeria adopted a new flexible exchange rate policy for official transactions in a move that effectively marks the third devaluation of the nair in one year.
The government will start using the flexible rate, which has so far applied to investors and exporters, for government transactions as well, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed told reporters Monday in the capital, Abuja. Nafex, as the flexible rate is known, has averaged 410 naira against the dollar since the beginning of the year and is comparable toThe old fixed rate of the Central Bank of Nigeria of 379 naira.
“Within the government and the central bank, there is only one official rate and that is the Nafex rate,” Ahmed said.
A weaker naira will boost the revenue of Africa’s largest crude oil producer, which has converted to the official fixed rate. Profits from oil exports account for about half of Nigeria’s revenue and about 90% of foreign exchange earnings.
Nigeria has already devalued its currency twice since March last year. Adopting the flexible rate policy could help discussions with the World Bank on a $ 1.5 billion loan that is partly conditional on currency reforms.
The Nafex rate was introduced in 2017 as a way to deceive foreign investors without formally devaluing the currency. Recently, investors have complained about dollar shortages.
The central bank is clearing a backlog of dollars “by releasing certain amounts per month,” Ahmed said. The International Monetary Fund estimated the backlog at about $ 2 billion in February.
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