Nigerian economic experts have said the country’s five-year-old currency swap agreement with China has not eased the pressure against the Nigerian currency. According to one expert, implementation of the swap arrangement is being held back by the size of the trade imbalance between Nigeria and China
Easing Pressure on the Naira
According to experts on the Nigerian economy, the country’s five-year-old currency swap agreement with China has failed to ease the pressure on the naira. Signed between the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the agreement was also intended to reduce pressure on Nigeria’s external reserves and to ensure foreign exchange stability.
However, since the signing of the swap arrangement in 2018, the Nigerian currency has depreciated versus the dollar from N305:$1 in 2018 to over N460:$1 in the first week of April 2023. Against the yuan, the Nigerian currency slid from the 2018 exchange rate of N48:CNY1 to N66.70:CNY1 on April 6, 2023. On the foreign exchange parallel market, a key source of the greenback for many Nigerian businesses and individuals, the naira/dollar exchange rate reportedly stood at over N730: $1.
Reports of the currency swap arrangement’s failures came at a time when several countries have or are seeking to establish similar arrangements with China.
Explaining why the currency swap arrangement with China is seemingly failing to halt the naira’s decline, Taiwo Oyedele, the head of tax and corporate advisory services at PWC Nigeria, pointed to the trade imbalance between the two nations.
“The implementation has so far been a challenge due essentially to the trade imbalance between Nigeria and China. While we import so much from China, we do not export nearly as much, which in fact has been on the decline in addition to the relative instability in the value of the naira,” Oyedele reportedly said.
According to Oyedele, Nigeria can still remedy this situation by substituting or promoting locally produced alternatives to imports.
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