The country’s foreign reserves fell by $454.05m from $36.57bn on June 1 to $36.12bn on July 15, the latest figures from the Central Bank of Nigeria showed on Thursday.
The CBN, in its February monthly report, entitled ‘Gross external reserves,’ said the reserves stood at $36.6bn at the end of February 2020, indicating a decline of 0.4 per cent from $36.73bn at the end of January 2020.
It said the decline was due mainly to foreign exchange market interventions and direct payments.
According to the CBN, the external reserves position can finance four months of imports of goods and services, or 6.4 months of goods only, using the import figure for the fourth quarter of 2019.
It added that a breakdown of the external reserves by ownership showed that the share of the federation reserves was $0.33bn (0.9 per cent); Federal Government was $6.6bn (18.1 per cent); and the CBN was $29.6bn.
The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, at the last Monetary Policy Committee meeting, reiterated the need for the government to urgently reduce its reliance on oil revenue by gradually diversifying the economy and improving tax collection.
He said headwinds to growth remained the legacy issues of the persistent infrastructural and security challenges.
“Central to the committee’s considerations were the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the oil price shock and the likely short- to medium-term consequences on the Nigerian economy,” he said.
In particular, he added, the committee acknowledged the gradual improvement in macroeconomic variables, particularly the improvement in the equities market, the containment measures of the COVID-19-induced health crisis and the impact of the increase in crude oil price on the external reserves.