The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Sunday said that it had disbursed about $61.64 million to foreign airlines through various Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in the country.
The apex bank added that it had redeemed outstanding forward liabilities amounting to about $2 billion in the past three months, taking the total to about $2.062 billion.
The foreign exchange intervention was confirmed in a statement issued by CBN’s acting director, Corporate Communications Department, Mrs. Hakama Sidi.
The central bank said the payment reaffirmed its commitment to eliminating the backlog of pending matured foreign exchange in banks as well as dousing pressure on the exchange rate.
Sidi explained that the initiative was part of the bank’s efforts to decrease its outstanding liability to the airlines.
She said, “This underscores the CBN’s commitment to the resolution of pending obligations and a functional foreign exchange market.”
According to her, the payments consolidate the CBN’s ongoing efforts to settle all remaining valid forward transactions to alleviate the current pressure on the country’s exchange rate.
With its latest intervention, the central bank hopes to provide a considerable boost to the naira against other major world currencies as well as increase investors’ confidence in the economy.
The federal government recently received $2.25 billion out of the $3.3 billion foreign exchange (FX) facility from the African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank).
The long-awaited credit support aims to alleviate the country’s acute currency shortage, which has stifled economic activity and drained investor confidence.
Earlier in December, President Bola Tinubu assured Nigerians of his administration’s commitment to resolving the FX backlogs through the injection of funds into the market.
It is estimated that there are between $7 billion and $10 billion in existing FX backlogs that must be cleared to boost investors’ confidence, some of whom have already exited the country due to the persistent liquidity constraints bedevilling the economy.