Central Bank Governor Mr. Godwin Emefiele gave a shocking disclosure on Thursday about the massive dollar treasure in Nigerian banks, as the country goes cap in hand begging for foreign loan.
According to him, over $20 billion is sitting pretty in domiciliary accounts of private individuals at a time when the country is facing foreign exchange crisis and is chasing foreign loans, when its citizens could offer the loan.
The figure of idle dollars is $7.8 billion less than the entire national reserve of $27.8 billion, managed by the Central Bank.
Emefiele’s disclosure, via proxy, was made at a session of the joint committee on appropriation of the National Assembly.
Represented by the Deputy Governor in charge of Financial System Surveillance, Mr. Joseph Nnanna, Emefiele said keeping the huge volume of dollars idle had compounded the forex crisis confronting the country.
“As I’m talking to you, $20billion is in various domiciliary accounts of individuals. Naira is our currency, why are they keeping the foreign currency? From my experience in the international finance, I have never seen a country where its nationals speculate on its currency,” he said.