Nigeria’s external reserves rose to $46 billion as at last Friday, brightening prospects of the nation’s sustained economic recovery in the months ahead.
Figures provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the weekend on the reserves’ trend, indicated the reserves grew by about $3.2 billion between February and March 2018, up from the $39.3 billion level in January.
The figures rose to $42.8 billion in February before hitting the new high of $46 billion.
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.
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 pointed out 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 at the Annual Conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) held in Lagos last November projected that Nigeria’s external reserves would hit the $40 billion mark this year.
Meanwhile, Brent Crude sold at $65.49 a barrel at the close of commodities trading on Friday, representing 2.54% rise above the price at the close of trading on Thursday.
Analysts forecast that the rising oil price at the international market portends good omen for the nation’s economy, as its sustained trend would make more funds available to all tiers of governments in the implementation of the yearly budgets.