From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja

 

With notable increases in remittance payments made by Nigerians living abroad and purchases of naira assets by foreign portfolio investors, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced that there had been a substantial rise in the influx of foreign exchange into the economy in February 2024.

Mrs. Hakama Sidi Ali, the Acting Director of Corporate Communications at the Bank, stated to reporters in Abuja that the statistics from the Bank shows that international remittances increased to US$1.3 billion in February 2024—more than four times the US$300 million received in January.

According to Ali, “Foreign investors purchased more than US$1 billion of Nigerian assets last month, with total portfolio flows of at least US$2.3 billion recorded thus far in 2024 compared to US$ 3.9 billion seen in total for last year,” she added.

She said higher FX inflows continued in March 2024, driven by increased investor interest in short-term sovereign debt following the recent adjustment to benchmark interest rates. She noted that Government securities issuances had been significantly oversubscribed, with foreign investors accounting for over 75% of bids received at the auctions conducted on March 1 and 6, 2024.

It will be recalled that the CBN Governor, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso set out a detailed strategy to curb inflation, stabilise the exchange rate, and spur confidence in the banking system and economy, using last month’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting and a conference call with foreign portfolio investors to set expectations for sustained increases in Nigeria’s foreign currency reserves and improved liquidity in the foreign exchange market.

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“All the different measures we have taken to boost reserves and create more liquidity in the markets have started to pay off,” Governor Cardoso said.

“When people understand the real issues and see a strategy and a plan, things tend to calm down. Our objective today is to ensure that the market has supply, that the market functions, and that investors can come in and go out,” he noted.