In an exclusive interview with Arise Television, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, revealed that approximately $2.4 billion out of the reported $7 billion foreign exchange (FX) liabilities of the federal government are not valid for settlement. The CBN has already settled $2.3 billion in verified FX requests, and the remaining outstanding FX obligations amount to $2.2 billion.
Cardoso clarified that a forensic audit by Deloitte Management Consultant, commissioned by the CBN, revealed that part of the headline $7 billion outstanding FX claims were fraudulent. Issues ranged from invalid import documents to non-existent entities, beneficiaries receiving more than requested, and even cases where no request was made but funds were received.
The CBN governor emphasized that the bank would not pay for FX requests that are not validly constituted. While $2.3 billion has been settled, the CBN is currently addressing the remaining $2.2 billion and working to resolve outstanding liabilities.
Cardoso stated that the CBN’s interventions needed careful consideration to avoid destabilizing the economy. He highlighted that too much liquidity injected in a short period had led to distortions, contributing to inflation. Cardoso asserted that the CBN lacked the capacity for direct interventions and would focus on its primary mandate of controlling inflation, stabilizing prices, and ensuring a stable economic environment.
Addressing concerns, Cardoso denied claims that the federal government planned to convert domiciliary accounts of Nigerians to naira accounts as part of reforms to stabilize the local currency.
The CBN governor expressed confidence in resolving the outstanding FX liabilities shortly and partnering with entities capable of managing interventions effectively. He emphasized the need for reasoned and well-managed interventions to prevent mismanagement of funds and mitigate distortions in the economic environment.