Nigeria’s external reserves soared by $12.887bn or 49.86% Year-to-Date, closing at $38.73bn on December 28, 2017, from $25.843bn on December 30, 2016, according to the latest data available on the website of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday.
On a Year-on-Year basis, the reserves level grew by $13.01bn or 50.58% from $25.72bn on December 28, 2016; while Month-to-Date, it jumped $3.785bn or 10.83% from $34.945bn on November 30.
Findings by Investdata research shows that the country’s foreign exchange reserves last tasted the $38.7bn region about 51 months ago on October 29, 2014, when it dropped from $45.22bn year-on-year in 2013.
The reserve is still far off its peak of $64bn attained in August 2008.
According to the personal statements by members of the CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) during their two-day meeting in September, Joseph Okwu Nnanna, a Deputy Governor at the apex bank, the nation’s “external sector indicators remained resilient supported by improved oil production and the effectiveness of the “investors’-exporters” foreign exchange window in the provision of foreign exchange liquidity.”
Speaking during the commissioning of the Unilever Nigeria Plc blue-band factory in Agbara Ogun State, Godwin Emefiele, the Governor CBN said the decision to bar importers of 41 items from accessing the official window has helped Nigeria conserve foreign exchange, besides creating and retaining jobs in the domestic economy.
“…the restriction of foreign exchange (forex) for the 41 items came on board about two years ago; before that time, Unilever had a factory producing Blue Band margarine. But margarine was also part of the 41 items.
“The entire essence is to say that by re-establishing that factory here in Nigeria, he has created direct jobs for Nigerians in this factory. He created indirect jobs for Nigerians by virtue of the fact that he buys palm oil which is part of the formulation that he uses in producing margarine.” What does it take produce margarine? It is mixing oil and water. By creating indirect jobs by buying from people producing oil in Nigeria, he feeds millions of people.
“That is the entire idea. I keep saying we do not have foreign exchange to allocate to import products that can be produced in Nigeria. I am happy that Unilever has proved us right that Blue Band margarine can be produced in this country. So far they are doing about 10,000 metric tonnes per annum and he has promised that he is going to ramp it up to 50,000 metric tonnes. By doing so you create jobs, which is what we are talking about. By creating jobs, you save the country forex that is needed to create jobs.”