Nigeria’s bonds priced in the US dollar raced to their summit so far this year on Monday as the market welcomed the suspension of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s governor, Godwin Emefiele,premium timesn report.
Mr Emefiele’s exit was considered a departure from a raft of policies that have kept foreign investors away from Africa’s largest economy.
The apex bank’s helmsman was asked to step aside by newly-inaugurated President Bola Tinubu from his position on Friday. He was taken into custody by the State Security Service one day for what the secret police described as “investigative reasons.”
He oversaw a central bank that advanced a N22.7 trillion overdraft called Ways and Means to the Nigerian Government over his nine years at the helm.
That has ramped up Nigeria’s public debt by half to N77 trillion.
The Senate in early May assented to the move by former President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to convert the overdraft, statutorily repayable within 12 months, to a bond to be paid back in 40 years.
The day before Mr Buhari left office, the House of Representatives abruptly convened an emergency session to approve an increase in the borrowing limit from the CBN.
Of the Eurobonds of emerging markets on Monday, Nigeria’s bonds recorded the sharpest rise, with the country’s bond having the longest maturity climbing to its year-to-date high.
Debts due in 2051 rose by over 3 cents on the greenback to 73.74.
Nigeria’s stock and fixed-income markets could not react to the development on Monday, a public holiday, but are likely to respond when trading resumes Tuesday.
Bloomberg reported that Wale Edun, an aide to President Tinubu, said that harmonisation of Nigeria’s problematic multiple exchange rate regime is around the corner, adding that the unification could be done within a quarter.
The gap between the official exchange rate of the naira to the dollar and the parallel market rate is currently as wide as about 60 per cent.
A dire shortage of FX, whose supply has been severely limited following an oil crash in 2020, means a chunk of foreign investors’ money is trapped in the system, denying them the liberty to exit the market at will, a put-off for potential investors seeking havens for their investments.
“We shall ensure that investors and foreign businesses repatriate their hard-earned dividends and profits home,” President Tinubu promised in his inauguration speech.
Foreign investors’ participation in stock trading in Nigeria plunged to N8.5 billion in April from N104 billion in April 2015, a month before Mr Buhari took office, according to Nigerian Exchange Limited data.