Latest data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have shown a total of $770.58m was utilised for oil imports in the first half of this year.
According to the CBN’s data on sectoral utilisation for transactions valid for foreign exchange, $148.32m was utilised in January; $145.23m in February, and $139.55m in March.
Forex for transactions in the oil sector fell to $113.80m in April and $109.11m in May but rose to $114.57m in June.
The data revealed that Oil imports accounted for about 4.35 per cent of the $17.70bn utilised for imports in the country from January to June.
The amount of foreign currency used for imports in the country stood at $3.98bn in January; $4.98bn in February and $5.36bn in March. It plunged to $1.08bn in April and $1.06bn in May but rose to $1.24bn in June.
Speaking at the Monetary Policy Committee meeting in March, Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor said, “The depletion in forex reserves was driven by forex sales to the Bureaux de Change and the investors’ and exporters’ forex window, as well as dwindling oil receipts.”
“For the purpose of establishing Letters of Credit and Bills for Collection for the importation of petroleum products, authorised dealers shall forward to the Director, Trade and Exchange Department (of the CBN), all relevant supporting documents for consideration prior to commencement of the transaction,” said the CBN last week in its monetary, credit, foreign trade and exchange policy guidelines.
“Furthermore, the CBN shall be notified within 48 hours by the authorised dealers before bidding for funds to pay for such transactions,” it added.
Nigeria relies largely on importation for petrol and other refined products as its refineries have remained in a state of disrepair for many years.