As the naira continues its free fall to N725/$, Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited has dismissed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) claim that weakening of the naira was caused by non-remittance of funds into foreign reserve by the petroleum company.
Despite CBN’s claim that the NNPC non-remittance of dollars precipitated the forex crisis, facts have shown that NNPC remitted N2.7 billion into its accounts with the CBN from January to June this year.
Reacting to nose-diving of the naira’s value, CBN in a report, entitled, ‘The forex question in Nigeria – Fact sheet,’ CBN said there had been “zero-dollar remittance to the country’s foreign reserve by the NNPC.”
Also, the country’s inability to stem fall of the naira against the dollar in the last five years has continued to constrain development in the telecommunications sector.
Stakeholders, who said volatility in the forex market has killed several telecoms project, called on policymakers to make dollar available for local players.
The stakeholders spoke at the weekend during the third edition of Policy Implementation Assisted Forum (PIAFo), themed: ‘Establishing Trackable Metrics for Developing Nigeria’s Indigenous Telecoms Sector,’ organised by Business Metrics Nigeria.
Records showed that out of the $2.7 billion the NNPC remitted into its CBN accounts, $645 million was for dividend paid by the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company Ltd, while $1.786 billion was from the NNPC’s operational activities.
A breakdown of the remittances showed that funds into the accounts came thus: $18,770,418.97 (January 2022), $194,563,276.49 (February 2022) and $373,232,875.20 (March 2022).
Other remittances were: $247,884,295.52 (April 2022), $591,565,425.41 (May 2022) and $880,906,761.81 (June 2022).
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has been in the eye of the storm following the weakening of the naira.
Last Wednesday, the Senate decided to invite Emefiele to explain the development and proffer a way forward.
Following a motion sponsored by Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, the Senate, apart from summoning Emefiele, also mandated its Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions to critically look into the intervention funds CBN earmarked to support some sectors of the economy.
In his motion seeking Emefiele’s summoning, Adetunmbi said CBN’s earlier ban of forex sales to Bureau de Change (BDC) operators caused a spike in exchange rate.
He stated that a few people benefit from the import-export window meant to serve the forex needs of business enterprises.
According to him, even Personal Travel Allowance (PTA) and Business Travel Allowance (BTA) are not accessible, as less than 20 per cent of total forex demand by travellers and businesses is met by CBN.
The CBN has been blaming the rapid depreciation of the value of the naira on so many factors, while exempting itself.
In 2018, Emefiele blamed forex crisis on importation of items he said should have been manufactured in Nigeria, leading to the ban on forex allocation for 41 items.
In 2021, Emefiele shifted the blame to BDC operators, who he accused of illegal forex trading.
He pointed fingers at ‘Aboki FX’, saying its activities were responsible for the naira’s depreciation, thereby cutting allocation to BDCs.
This year, the CBN has blames the forex crisis on money laundering and activities of those allegedly funding terrorism, as well as politicians.