Saturday, 12 December 2015

In December 1980, exactly 35 years ago, the naira
was one dollar and eight cent, but today, a dollar
is N260, the weakest it has ever been since its
introduction 42 years ago. The naira, which was
introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)
on January 1,1973, fell to its lowest on Friday,
trading at 260 to the greenback on the parallel
market. The local currency continues to plunge as
the CBN holds on to its stringent dollar sales
policy at the parallel market. Earlier in 2015, the
apex bank introduced the policy of selling over $
80m to Bureau De Change (BDC) operators, to
keep the unofficial rate close to that of the
parallel market. The policy is however undergoing
review, as the CBN circular reported by Reuters
has set out new guidelines for the 2016 BDC
transaction of dollars. The circular, which will
come into effect in January, “orders retail money
exchanges to deposit a mandatory cautionary
deposit of N35 million in an account with the
central bank, in addition to a minimum capital
requirement of N35 million”. The decision,
experts believe, would trim the number of BDC
operators in the country. When the local currency
was introduced in introduced in 1973, the nation
started with notes for 50 kobo, 1, 5, 10 and N20.
The 50 kobo notes were phased out in 1989, 1990,
before N50 notes, better known as ‘Wazobia’,
were issued 1991. Former president, Olusegun
Obasanjo, holds the record as the president to
have introduced the highest number of notes in
Nigeria’s democracy, introducing N100 in 1999,
N200 in 2000, N500 in 2001 and N1000 on
October 12, 2005.

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