The naira tumbled against the dollar from 222 on Wednesday to 225 on Thursday, barely 36 hours after the Central Bank of Nigeria banned importers of rice, textiles, tomato paste and 38 other items from getting their forex needs from the nation’s forex market.
The regulator had said the new rule would help preserve the external reserves, facilitate the resuscitation of domestic industries and generate employment opportunities.
But the ban, which economists said would see about $5.7bn quarterly forex demand by importers of the items move from the official to the parallel market, is already fuelling scarcity of dollar at the black market and the Bureau De Change segment of the forex market.
Black market operators in Lagos, Abuja and Kano on Thursday said they had limited amount of foreign currencies for sale.
The Acting President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, said the dollar sold for between 224 and 225 on the street market because many of the operators were hoarding their stock of forex in anticipation of further rise in prices against the naira.
The hoarding, he said, followed the CBN’s new policy banning importers of 40 items from the forex market.