CBN Keeps Lending Rate At 11.5%.. To Pull Down AbokiFX Website

CBN Rewards Plateau Farmers For Paying Loans on Time
  • Threatens To Prosecute Website Owner, Olumide Oniwinde 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Monetary Policy Committee has voted to retain its key lending rate at 11.5 per cent as the federal government continues to fight the disturbing inflationary trend that made Nigerians to pay more for goods and services in the country.

The Committee also kept the asymmetric corridor at +100/-700 basis points around the MPR.

The New Diplomat understands that the MPR is the interest rate at which CBN lends to the commercial banks.

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The MPR is also the benchmark against which other lending rates in the economy are pegged and is usually used as an instrument to moderate inflation in the economy.

At the end of its two-day bi-monthly meeting on Friday, the MPC also retained the cash reserve ratio at 27.5 per cent, and liquidity ratio at 30 per cent, in line with many financial commentators had predicted.

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This comes as the latest report from the National Bureau of Statistics show that Nigeria’s inflation moderated for the fifth consecutive month to 17.01 per cent in August.

At its last meeting in July, the CBN MPC voted to hold all policy parameters constant, believing that it would enable the continued passage of current policy measures in supporting the growth recovery recorded in the second quarter and macro-economic stability.

Also, Emiefiele, while responding to questions after the MPC meeting on Friday, said the abokiFX website would be pulled down. He threatened that government will prosecute its owner, Mr Olumide Oniwinde whom he described as an illegal FX dealer, endangering the Nigerian economy.

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He said, “I have given instructions to our experts to go after his website and let it be clear that we will go after him, because we can’t allow this to continue.”

According to Emefiele, the CBN doesn’t recognize any forex market window besides the Investors and Exporters window.

AbokiFX is a website that publishes the parallel market exchange rate of the Naira against other currencies of the world on a daily basis. As of the time of this reporting, the platform puts dollar buying at N560 and selling rate at N570, even though the CBN rate for Friday was N409-410.

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Recall the CBN had in July banned the sale of foreign exchange (Forex) to Bureau De Change (BDCs) operators in the country.

CBN Governor, Emefiele, while announcing the ban hinged the decision on the discovery by the apex bank that BDCs have become the channel for all forms of illicit financial flows in the country, including money laundering.

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The CBN has also taken a stance to stop the issuance of new licenses to BDCs, including applications waiting to be processed as the apex bank said it will only channel “significant allocation for foreign exchange to banks to meet legitimate demands for Forex.”

Though the CBN had averred that the apex bank will deal ruthlessly with BDCs found wanting on the directive, checks by The New Diplomat indicate that about two months after the CBN pronouncement, BDC operators are still lining major streets in the country selling and buying forex from Nigerians in a flagrant violation of the apex bank’s directive.

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