Speculations are rife that the Naira may officially cross the N300 mark to the United States dollar at the inter-bank market in a matter of days!
And there is apprehension in the land as our currency weakens week after week since the introduction of the flexible exchange rate which opened on June 20, 2016, moving the official rate from about N197 to over N254. It hovered around N282 to N285 for a few weeks to the dollar, before crashing to about N290 on Friday, July 15. Euro officially exchanged for N317, and pounds N384.
And there are worries that the economy, largely dependent on foreign exchange for goods and raw materials, will further slide southwards, impoverishing millions as companies reduce staff and production capacity. And prices of goods and services are expected to rise, but with fewer buyers.
The black market rate is no different as it headed towards N365 to the dollar by the weekend, from N338 on June 20 when the new forex policy took off. The euro was N375-N398, and pounds N471-N485 at the weekend at the parallel market.
The Naira has been listed as the third worst performing currency in the world (only ahead of Venezuelan bolivar and Suriname dollar) and Africa’s worst performing for 2016.
The Central Bank of Nigeria, which thought the Naira would stabilize at N250 to the dollar, is confused about how to arrest the slide.