Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who has been a critic of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s foreign exchange policy has said that the regulator needs to reassure foreign investors of the availability of mechanisms that would enable them to channel their resources with the least possible constraints.
The VP who in October faulted the handling of the naira made his position while speaking at the NGX Capital Markets Conference held in Abuja.
In 2020, the Nigerian Exchange Limited former Nigerian Stock Exchange was the highest performing exchange with a return of 50 per cent on the all share index.
But in 2021, the NGX has seen significant exit of both foreign and domestic institutional participation.
The year-to-date performance of the bourse has fallen to around 7.65 per cent.
Osinbajo said, “To correct this and usher in the return of foreign domestic institutional participation, I must say that it is clear that government and I believe that all government agencies and regulators in our financial system, such as the Central Bank, the SEC, PenCom, among other key stakeholders, realize that we must work with NGX to ensure that the excessive risk premium within the market is better.
“And those foreign investors are reassured of foreign exchange mechanisms and other regulations that will enable them to channel their resources in and take their resources out with the least possible constraints.
“And so, the point of the reassuring business environment for foreign or local investors is not lost on us as a government.”
In 2020, over $2bn belonging to foreign portfolio investors in the country were trapped due to dollar crunch.
Nigeria’s foreign reserves have grown to $41.2bn as of November 29 compared to the 2020 Covid-19 era.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had said at the Nigerian International Partnership Forum in Paris that foreign investors will be prioritized in its rationing of foreign exchange.
He said, “So, we will continue to do anything possible to boost the reserves to reserve the position for those of you in our foreign investor community who look at reserves, I would say the reserves today look good.
“For those of you who have businesses and are looking at the possibility of repatriating your profits through dividends, we started a programme where dividends are now being repatriated easily, as long as it is a properly documented foreign direct investment into the country.
“We are positive that you should be able to and we will give priority to you as you aim to repatriate your profits.”