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Nigeria to stop defending naira peg

15 June 2016, 17:36

Abuja - Nigeria's central bank said Wednesday it will ease currency controls and allow the naira to devalue as the country works to attract investment amid a worsening economic outlook.

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor Godwin Emefiele said in a televised speech from Abuja that the currency market will be "purely market driven".

"We now believe that the time is right to restore the automatic adjustment mechanisms of foreign exchange rate with the reintroduction of the flexible interbank exchange rate market," he said in a statement.

Also read: Trouble looms as Nigeria's interest rate hits 15.6%

"The market shall operate as a single market structure through the interbank and autonomous window," he said, adding: "The foreign exchange rate will be purely market driven."

Full details of the new foreign exchange policy will be released later on Wednesday and introduced from next Monday, he said.

Nigeria has pegged the naira to the dollar at 197-199 since March 2015, even as other oil exporters have let their currencies devalue in the wake of plunging global crude prices.

President Muhammadu Buhari has previously said he would not "kill the naira" by letting it devalue.

But last month Emefiele said the CBN was open to reviewing its policy, as the country grapples with spiralling inflation, slowing growth, the weakening naira and foreign exchange shortages.



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