The Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) on Sunday anticipated a further increase in benchmark rates by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), to address the persistent inflation rate.

President of the association, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, stated this in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) in Lagos, ahead of the next MPC meeting scheduled for today and tomorrow.

Gwadabe commended the CBN on its recent reforms aimed at boosting the economy and its continued efforts in taming inflation.

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The CBN, on February 27, at its last MPC meeting, raised the monetary policy rate (MPR), which benchmarks interest rates, from 18.75 percent to 22.75 percent.

It also increased the cash reserve ratio (CRR) from 32.5 percent to 45 percent, while retaining the liquidity rate at 30 percent.

However, the headline inflation rate, which stood at 29.90 percent in January, rose to 31.70 percent as of February.

The ABCON boss said the completion of the clearance of the valid foreign exchange backlog was a good development in the forex market that gave the Naira a positive outlook, attracting foreign investors.

He said, “We are also seeing how they are using the securities to attract foreign investments, which are oversubscribed. That is also having a lot of positive impact on the exchange rate.

“We have also seen how they took the bold decision to reinstate the BDCs window to deepen the market, which has broken the camel’s back,” he said.

He underscored the importance of sustaining the current momentum in curbing Naira volatility and improving economic growth.

“As we speak, as of today before the meeting, the exchange rate of the Naira to the United States Dollar is awesome. It is reassuring and shows that the CBN has the muscles and arsenal to protect the value of the Naira.

“In summary, that is my observation: the increasing resilience, capacity and arsenal of the Central Bank of Nigeria to defend our local currency through several measures.

“My advice is for them to continue widening the paradigm shift in sourcing foreign exchange for the economy,” he said.

Gwadabe also urged the MPC to explore alternative avenues for sourcing foreign exchange, emphasising the significance of clearing valid foreign exchange backlog to enhance market stability and attract foreign investors.

He lauded the CBN’s decisive actions, citing the reinstatement of BDCs as a significant move that had positively influenced the forex market.

He noted that such bold decisions by the central bank had instilled confidence in the market, reflected in the strengthening of the Naira against major currencies.

In the light of ongoing challenges in the oil sector, Gwadabe called for diversification efforts and emphasised the importance of synergy between fiscal and monetary policies.

He noted that effective collaboration between the government and the CBN is crucial for achieving sustainable economic stability.

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