NIGERIA’S external reserves fell by $313m in March, according to figures obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria on Thursday.
The CBN’s figures showed that the foreign exchange reserves, which commenced March 1, 2022, at $39.86bn, fell to $39.55bn as of March 30, 2022.
Following the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces, crude oil prices have continued to fluctuate as the global energy sector continues to experience disruptions.
Brent, the crude against which Nigeria’s oil is priced, which had jumped above $100 per barrel in the past few weeks, hit $120 as of Thursday.
The CBN had expressed worries over the effects of massive oil theft on the oil sector and the external reserves.
Also, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited said that the country had lamented that the nation was not meeting its OPEC crude oil production quota lately.
The Governor, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, had at the last Monetary Policy Committee meeting expressed concerns over oil production and external reserves.
He said the MPC noted with concern the decrease in the level of the external reserves.
Emefiele said, “The MPC worries that, whereas global prices have gone up, this has been compounded by the shortage of supply of petroleum products.
“In the short-run, the MPC urges the NNPC to take urgent steps to ensure an adequate supply of petroleum products in Nigeria so as to reduce the rate of arbitrary increase in the price of petroleum products by oil marketers.”
He added, “The committee noted, with grave concern, the unprecedented rate of oil theft recorded in recent time, and its debilitating impact on government revenue and accretion to reserves.
“In the medium-term, the MPC is hopeful that the proposed take-off of the Dangote Refinery in the course of the year would help to improve the supply of petroleum products in Nigeria.”
Emefiele, however, said the CBN in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee was working to boost non-oil exports through the ‘Race to a $200bn.’
“It is our honest view that in the next few years, more jobs will be created, and growth will be much more consolidated above five per cent with the propensity to build an economy that is self-sustaining and capable of withstanding negative external shocks,” he said.