Nigeria’s external reserves climbed to an all-high mark of $46 billion as at last Friday, March 9, 2018, raising hopes of better savings prospects for the country in the months ahead.
According to statistics on the foreign earnings provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the weekend, the reserves grew by about $3.2 billion between February and March 2018, up from the take-off mark of $39.3 billion in January.
The figures rose to $42.8 billion in February before hitting the new high of $46 billion.
Confirming the figures, the CBN Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, Isaac Okorafor attributed the continued build up of the reserves to the apex bank’s efforts aimed at discouraging unbridled importation of goods and by so doing, reducing the nation’s import bill.
In addition, other factors linked to the growing foreign reserves are, earnings from oil and non-oil exports and huge inflows through the investors and exporters window of the foreign exchange market.
Okorafor also noted that the apex bank’s interventions in the foreign exchange window had also helped to moderate the pressure on the Forex reserves by sustaining liquidity in the market and boosting production and trade.
According to him, the CBN policy restricting access to Forex from Nigeria’s foreign exchange market to importers of some 41 items also impacted positively on the nation’s reserves and the supply of local substitutes for imported goods, creating jobs at home and enhancing the incomes of farmers and local manufacturers.
It would be recalled that the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had last November at a public forum held in Lagos projected that Nigeria’s external reserves would hit the $40 billion mark this year.
Meanwhile, Brent Crude, sold at $65.49 a barrel, up by 2.54% t the close of commodities trading on Friday.
With the volatility of the international oil market subsiding in recent weeks, analysts project that Nigeria’s financing challenges may gradually be reducing and help government to close the huge deficit proposed in 2018 budget.