The devalued naira at the parallel market is allowing Nigeria’s neighbors literally rob the nation dry in unprecedented trade advantages.
The naira which has been exchanging at a record low of almost 400 to $1 is allowing Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Togo and other neighboring nations buy trailer loads of food at half the price, further deepening the food crisis in Nigeria.
New government policies are intentionally disabling the blackmarket exchange of forex by ensuring dealers do not have access to foreign currency. The government closed down illegitimate sale of foreign currencies to blackmarket dealers thereby indirectly creating a scarcity that is forcing the exchange rate to unprecedented levels.
While the government via banks practically does not sell dollars to customers, the blackmarket which used to sustain businesses is being shut down thus putting Nigerians in distress and giving its neighbors a treacherous advantage.
While in other counties, including Ghana, official bureau de-changes are legally able to sell foreign currency to customers, such does not obtain in Nigeria. The exchange is controlled by the banks and parallel market only. Bank stringent and impossible policies make it impossible for small businesses and individuals to buy foreign currency, while only selling to big businesses and the cabal. Clients typically depend on the parallel market which the government has now effectively shut down by strangulation.
Small businesses are continuing to shut down while Nigeria’s neighbors are taking advantage of the devaluation to convert their currencies to naira at double the rates they used to just a few months ago.
Noble laureate Professor Wole Soyinka has called for an open conference on the economy as things appear to be getting out of hand.