The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the complete clearance of the valid foreign exchange backlog, marking a significant milestone in the nation’s economic recovery efforts. Mrs. Hakama Sidi Ali, the Bank’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications, shared this achievement, highlighting the fulfillment of a promise made by CBN Governor, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, to address an inherited $7 billion in claims.

Speaking in Abuja on Wednesday, Mrs. Ali revealed that the CBN finalized payments amounting to $1.5 billion, effectively addressing the last portions of the FX backlog. This step not only demonstrates the bank’s commitment to stabilizing the national economy but also underscores the meticulous verification process employed.

Deloitte Consulting’s independent auditors were tasked with closely examining these transactions, ensuring the settlement of only legitimate claims and referring any questionable transactions to the relevant authorities.

“She noted that the CBN recently concluded the payment of $1.5 billion to settle obligations to bank customers, effectively settling the residual balance of the FX backlog. She also disclosed that independent auditors from Deloitte Consulting meticulously assessed these transactions, ensuring that only legitimate claims were honored. Any invalid transactions were promptly referred to the relevant authorities for further scrutiny.”

Complementing this economic progress, the CBN reported a remarkable boost in Nigeria’s external reserves, which increased by $993 million to $34.11 billion as of March 7, 2024, reaching an eight-month high. This rise was fueled by increased remittance payments from Nigerians abroad and heightened interest from foreign investors in local assets, including government debt securities.

“Clearance of the foreign exchange transactions backlog is part of the overall strategy detailed in last month’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting to stabilize the exchange rate and thereby curb imported inflation, spurring confidence in the banking system and the economy. Cardoso used the MPC meeting and a subsequent conference call with foreign portfolio investors to set expectations for sustained increases in Nigeria’s foreign currency reserves and improved liquidity in the foreign exchange market. The CBN followed this month by reporting a significant increase in external reserves, rising by $993 million to $34.11 billion as of March 7, 2024, the highest level in eight months. The month-on-month increase was driven by a marked advance in remittance payments by Nigerians overseas, as well as higher purchases of local assets, including government debt securities, by foreign investors.”