THE Central Bank of Nigeria, on Friday at the Monetary Policy Committee meeting, gave reasons for the planned shutdown of AbokiFX, accusing the owner of exchange rate breaches.
Emefiele disclosed that the owner of the website Oniwinde Adedotun would be made to face the full wrath of the law for economic sabotage.
“On Aboki FX, yes, unfortunately, the Central Bank of Nigeria wrote a memo to banks and asked those banks to provide information about AbokiFX. We have been studying the activities of AbokiFX for the last two and a half years.
“There was a particular time I called our colleagues to call the so-called owner of AbokiFX. We wanted to understand his model and the basis on how he came about advertising those rates.
“We found him as a Nigerian who lives in England and produces this nefarious and criminal activity on our economy. It is economic sabotage and we will pursue him wherever he is.”
Emefiele also noted that the apex bank would report him to international agencies, adding, “we will track him, Mr Oniwinde, we will find you because we cannot allow you to continue to conduct an illegal activity that kills our economy.”
Emefiele, who revealed that there would be no going back on the stopping of dollar sales to bureau de change (BDC) operators despite naira’s freefall, said some people were collecting dollars from them for weapon importation.
He stated that the CBN decided to stop the sale of forex to BDC operators because they had become a source of foreign exchange for criminals to perform their nefarious activities.
“It beats my imagination that Nigerians continued with this type of practice of selling dollars to BDCS that tended to promote illegal activities in graft and corrupt practices.
“We won’t support the corrupt tendencies of those who illegally buy dollars from our forex market, carry them in aircraft, buy arms and ammunition and bring them back into the country and conduct crimes. Whether it is Boko Haram, banditry and other nefarious activities.”
Meanwhile, naira has been on a downward slope for some time in the parallel market and it traded at N570/$ on Friday.
Former Deputy Governor of the CBN Kingsley Muoghalu had called on the apex bank to stop subsidising import and float the naira to actually determine its market value.
“The government cannot continue to fix the price of the naira, which is what the Central Bank is doing. If you float the naira, you have to stop subsidising imports. Our country is structured in such a way that it is subsidising the country’s imports. This breeds arbitrage.”
Notably, the Central Bank of Nigeria has been struggling to fix the demand side of the FX market but has been weak in developing the supply side of the FX market. Industry analysts say Nigeria’s over-reliance on oil to boost foreign reserves and FX market exposes it to more vulnerability.
“Why naira is so vulnerable to being devalued is because we are not generating enough dollars. The oil market is volatile and it is affecting naira’s vulnerability because of not having enough buffer. This has been our problem,” Economist at the Centre for Study on African Economies (CSEA) Mma Ekereuche told The ICIR.
She noted that government must find a way to explore the agribusiness and the manufacturing sectors in African Continental Free Trade in order to improve dollar access to the economy while strengthening the naira.
On Friday, the apex bank also announced the retention of the Monetary Policy Rate at 11.5 per cent as part of the resolution of the Monetary Policy Committee.