A statement by Mr. Isaac Okorafor, Director, Corporate Communications at the CBN read in part:
“The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has been drawn to a recent press release titled “Matters of Urgent Attention” by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), which calls into question some of the measures taken by the CBN to support the stability of our financial system and enable faster recovery of our economy, following the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nigeria.
With respect to foreign exchange, the CBN operates two windows: wholesale and retail. In the wholesale window, banks are allocated FOREX weekly, which is meant to be allocated to their customers at their discretion, reflecting customer size and distributive efficiency, for final sale to parents paying school fees, patients settling medical bills abroad, SME traders importing small-scale inputs and raw materials, and general travelers for business and personal trips.
The CBN also allocates a certain amount of FX to licensed BDCs per week, who resell to small-scale users. In both categories, the CBN does not know the final buyers of this FX. In the retail window, banks submit a detailed list of applicants who are then allocated foreign exchange based on availability. Given that these submissions are first scrutinized by the banks and are accompanied by the provision of significant documentation, we do not understand the extra transparency being called for by the NESG.
Although the NESG, under its current leadership, has fallen short of its own standards and become a shadow of its old self, we believe there are better ways to resuscitate the Group’s brand other than through cheap popularity and tarnished attention using ambushed press statements made up of contrived allegations. Given that the NESG should know better, we believe that these allegations are reflective of sinister motives and malicious intent.”