In December 1980, exactly 35 years ago, the naira was one dollar and eight cent, but today, a dollar is N260, the weakest it has ever been since its introduction 42 years ago.
The naira, which was introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on January 1,1973, fell to its lowest on Friday, trading at 260 to the greenback on the parallel market.
The local currency continues to plunge as the CBN holds on to its stringent dollar sales policy at the parallel market. Earlier in 2015, the apex bank introduced the policy of selling over $80m to Bureau De Change (BDC) operators, to keep the unofficial rate close to that of the parallel market.
The policy is however undergoing review, as the CBN circular reported by Reuters has set out new guidelines for the 2016 BDC transaction of dollars. The circular, which will come into effect in January, “orders retail money exchanges to deposit a mandatory cautionary deposit of N35 million in an account with the central bank, in addition to a minimum capital requirement of N35 million”.
The decision, experts believe, would trim the number of BDC operators in the country. When the local currency was introduced in introduced in 1973, the nation started with notes for 50 kobo, 1, 5, 10 and N20.
The 50 kobo notes were phased out in 1989, 1990, before N50 notes, better known as ‘Wazobia’, were issued 1991. Former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, holds the record as the president to have introduced the highest number of notes in Nigeria’s democracy, introducing N100 in 1999, N200 in 2000, N500 in 2001 and N1000 on October 12, 2005.