$2.4bn of $7bn forex claim fictitious – CBN

Forex
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Mohammed Bello, the Deputy Governor of Corporate Services at the Central Bank of Nigeria,has revealed that approximately $2.4 billion of the reported $7 billion forex claims backlog were found to be fictitious.

Addressing attendees at the 2024 Law Week event organized by the Nigerian Bar Association in Abuja on Monday, Bello explained that upon assuming his role, there was a surge in requests to clear outstanding forex obligations. This prompted a thorough audit of the claims to ascertain their validity.

"After completing the audit," Bello stated, "we identified around $2.4 billion of the reported $7 billion backlog as fictitious. Subsequently, the bank took decisive actions to clear genuine forex backlogs, contributing to the stabilization of the Naira."

He highlighted the impact of this action on the aviation sector, noting that before the backlog clearance, foreign airlines restricted seat availability due to difficulties repatriating trapped foreign exchange. Clearing the backlog facilitated the release of cheaper flight tickets for Nigerians, thereby easing airfare costs and reducing FX demand, subsequently alleviating pressure on the Naira.

Bello emphasized the positive outcomes of these measures, citing the Naira's recent performance as the best-performing currency globally. Additionally, he mentioned heightened FX market activity, reaching levels unseen in over seven years.

Furthermore, Bello discussed contractionary policies implemented to address rising inflation rates. These included new guidelines for Bureau de Change operations and the revocation of licenses for over 4,000 BDCs, aimed at enhancing orderliness in the sector.

During the event, Abdullahi Ganduje, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, commended the party and President Bola Tinubu's administration for their efforts in reforming the nation.

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