Summary: A look at policies Nigeria’s apex bank (Central Bank of Nigeria) can consider to increase the value of Naira against other currencies.
In the 1970s, the Naira is valuable than the US dollar. Today, the reverse is the case, It has gone bad that I US dollar can buy as much as 380 Naira or more at the parallel market. The question on the mind of investors is how Nigeria’s apex bank increase the value of Naira against the US dollars, Euro, Pounds, and other currencies?
Can Nigeria’s government bring back the glory of the Naira against other currencies around the World? What can the government do to encourage investors to store their wealth in Naira without losing value?
Do Nigerians want a stronger exchange rate?
A strong currency is a mixed blessing. It makes imports cheaper and can improve living standards.
However, it comes with some drawbacks because it can also make exports less competitive and lead to lower economic growth.
10 Ways to Make Naira Regain Value
- Expanding exports
- Ease pressure on the foreign exchange market
- Sell foreign exchange assets and buy their own currency
- Higher interest rates
- Reduce the country’s gross demand for dollar
- Currency Credible Assurance
- Demonetization the Naira
- Reduce inflation
- Long-term supply-side policies
- Reduce corruption
Our number way of increasing the value of Naira is to expand exports. At the moment, Nigeria gains most of her FX from the sale of oil.
A few weeks ago, we all witnessed trouble for naira escalated due to the downward trend of the price of crude, which accounts for more than 90% of Nigeria’s foreign-exchange earnings. That’s one of the disadvantages of over-reliance on crude oil earnings.
Encourage SMEs to produce goods that can be exported, motivate cocoa farmers, support groundnut farmers in the North.
The Federal Government should consider exporting quality goods and services. To achieve this, manufacturing companies in Nigeria should concentrate on producing quality goods that meet the global standard for exportation.
This way, revenue generated from export will increase inflows of FX instead relying solely on export of oil.
Ease pressure on the foreign exchange market
One of the ways to increase the value of Naira is to ease the pressure on the foreign exchange market in order to meet the high demand for hard currency in the country, the World Bank offered a similar suggestion a few weeks ago.
World Bank country director, Shubham Chaudhuri, was quoted by as saying “continued and even stronger action and a clear commitment from the central bank will go a long way toward facilitating a stronger recovery.”
A few days back, On March 27, 2020, the CBN stopped the sale of forex to BDC operators as the country faced an imminent lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Since then, the exchange rate at the black market moved from N395/$1 on March 27, 2020, to N480/$1, as we write (October 13, 2020) it’s still N460/$1 at the blackmarket rate, showing only about N20 appreciation.
Sell foreign exchange assets and buy their own currency
The CBN, which is the official monetary advisor of Nigeria’s government should encourage the Federal Government to toe the steps of China and buy US government bonds. For instance, the record shows that China has over $1 trillion of US government bonds.
What does government bonds mean for another country?
Let’s use China as a case study here: Imagine what happens to the Chinese Yuan if it sells its Treasury bills and bring back the proceeds to China?
This will automatically cause a depreciation in the dollar against the Chinese Yuan, thereby making the Yuan to appreciate.
This is what the Chinese government has been doing overtime, buy treasury bills of another country and bring back proceeds to China.
As we write, $1 can only buy less than CNY7, that’s commendable.
“Currently, China has a large current account surplus with the US. This flow of money into China would usually cause an appreciation. However, China has deliberately decided to use its foreign currency earnings to buy US assets. They do this to keep the Yuan weaker and therefore keep their exports more competitive,” says economicshelp.org
Nigeria can do the same.
Higher interest rates
Economists propounded that higher interest rates would attract some inflow of money, which occurs when banks and financial institutions move money to other countries to take advantage of a better rate of return on saving.
Nigeria Naira can regain its value if banks take advantage of this, though this economic strategy of increasing the value of the currency has its downs because higher interest rates may reduce the rate of economic growth.
Effects of higher interest rates may set in if this isn’t strategically implemented by a developing country.
For instance, during the recession, higher interest rates would not be suitable due to side effect on economic growth.
Reduce the country’s gross demand for dollar
One of the long term solutions to make naira regain its value is to reduce the country’s gross demand for the dollar.
The fastest way to do this is by reducing importation of goods we have comparative cost advantage e.g crude oil, the refineries can be fixed so as to reduce dollars expended on re-importation of the finished products of crude oil (petroleum)
Currency Credible Assurance
Have you ever asked why Switzerland is referred to as ‘safe haven’ currency? Or why corrupt Nigerian politicians move their loot to Swiss bank?
This is as a result of assurance from the Swiss government as a result of its stability that was targeting a higher exchange rate even as other currencies face turbulent time or recession.
When there is currency credible assurance from the government, this might encourage speculators to move money into Nigeria.
Today, how many investors are buying Nigeria naira compared to Swiss Francs? This must also be done with caution so as not cause a problem for exporters.
Demonetization is not strange to Nigeria. In 1984, Nigeria underwent a demonetization process, when the government changed the colour of all currency notes in circulation.
“Demonetization is the act of stripping a currency unit of its status as legal tender. It occurs whenever there is a change of national currency: The current form or forms of money is pulled from circulation and retired, often to be replaced with new notes or coins.”-investopedia
Demonetization could be carried out to curb money laundering and eliminate black money in the financial system.
It also acts as a measure of repairing the relationship between monetary aggregate and aggregate output and a measure of reasserting monetary control, and restabilising financial stability.
Ghana, India have done a similar thing in the past.
With the currency hyper-inflation cost of goods in Nigeria, bringing back the value of Naira may be difficult.
Nigeria’s inflation is relatively higher than competitors, some of the goods produced in Nigeria are even more expensive than the imported ones.
Inflation has to be lower than competitors, that’s when the countries goods will become more attractive and demand will rise because lower inflation tends to increase the value of the currency in the long term.
To make naira regain its value, FG needs to reduce inflation, Nigeria’s government and the CBN can pursue tighter fiscal and monetary policy and also supply-side policies.
Long-term supply-side policies
In the long term, a strong currency depends on economic fundamentals. To have a stronger exchange rate of Naira against other currencies, Nigeria will need a combination of low inflation, productivity growth, economic and political stability.
Presently, if Nigeria increases interest rates, this might not have any major positive effect on the exchange rate.
This is because, despite high-interest rates, investors would be concerned about the high inflation in Nigeria.
To increase the value of Naira in the long-term, the government will need to try supply-side policies to increase competitiveness and cut costs of production, for example, privatisation and cutting regulations may help the export industry become more competitive in the long-term.
To sustain the value of the naira in long term, the government would have to try and diversify the economy away from oil into other manufacturing.
Corruption is gradually becoming synonymous to Nigeria because the political office holders are not ready to use the wealth to develop the country.
Most of the political office holders prefer to invest in UAE, USA, China and patronise hospitals in UK, Germany and many thereby gradually pulling down Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
In a report entitled “Impact of Corruption on Nigeria’s Economy” PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a leading professional services firm, a few weeks back in a report to the Federal Government led by its Country and regional Senior Partner West Market Area, Mr. Uyi Akpata, stated that corruption had impacted the Nigerian economy over time.
“The results of the study show that corruption in Nigeria could cost up to 37% of GDP by 2030 if it’s not dealt with immediately. This cost is equated to around $1,000 per person in 2014 and nearly $2,000 per person by 2030.
“The boost in average income that we estimate, given the current per capita income, can significantly improve the lives of many in Nigeria” Akpata stated.
To sustain the value of the Naira, the government must find a workable way of fighting corruption regardless of political affiliation.
Here you have it if you’ve been wondering what are some of the policies and possibilities Nigeria can use to increase the value of its currency?