Foreign reserves down by $2.9billion in 1 year

Nigeria’s foreign reserves recorded the lowest drop in the last four years, according to data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The records show that the movement in reserves drastically slowed in the last one year when compared to the drops from 2013.
From April 2015 to April 2016, the country’s reserves only dropped by $2.9 billion as against $7.8bn within the corresponding period of April 2014 to April 2015.
From April 2013 to April 2014 the reserves fell by $11.6 billion.
The reserves has been decreasing since 2013 due to the increasing demand for imported items and corresponding decrease in the foreign exchange earnings from the sale of crude oil.
The price of crude oil fell by about 80 percent, from $115 per barrel in May 2014 to about $44 per barrel in April 2016.
The ban on the sale of forex to the importers of the 41 items by the CBN has largely contributed to the drastic reduction in the shrinking of the reserves.
Some experts also attribute the slow drop to some strict measures by the President Buhari administration which prioritised forex allocations and ensured transparency in the system.
Just last week, the government allowed fuel marketers that usually received highest allocation to source for forex from the secondary market, thereby reducing pressure on the nation’s reserves.
CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele said recently that the bank would continue to meet the demand of the import of raw materials that would support industrial growth and other essential products such as medicines.
An Abuja-based financial analyst, Mr Idris Nda, said the drop has to do with the level of transparency in the forex allocation in recent times.
He said if you looked at the newspapers nowadays you would discover who and what the banks allocated the forex they received from the CBN.
“Such publications were not there before. Nobody knows who collected what and for what reason. That was the reason the foreign reserves was falling drastically,” he said.