Money Transfer and Foreign Exchange in Nigeria

By Remitbee - Aug 2, 2023

In 1973, the pound sterling was replaced by the Nigerian Naira (NGN), which became the country's official currency. It happened after Nigeria became independent from British authority in 1960 and became a republic in 1963.

There are 100 kobos in one Naira. This Nigerian currency is abbreviated as "₦" and symbolized by the letter "N."

The Central Bank of Nigeria

The Central Bank of Nigeria, founded in 1958, regulates and distributes the nation's money. At the same time, they set the exchange rate for Naira against other currencies.

Consequently, numerous economic variables, like the nation's balance of payments, inflation, and government policies, can affect the value of the Naira.

Factors That Affected the Shortage of Foreign Currency

The oil and gas industry, agriculture, telecommunications, banking, and manufacturing principally drive Nigeria's enormous and diverse economy.

However, the nation has recently faced several economic difficulties that have resulted in a severe foreign currency shortage.

Let's review some factors that contributed to this problem:

Decreased Demand for the Country's Exports

Reduced demand for the nation's exports, such as oil or agricultural goods, might lower foreign currency revenues and cause a shortfall of foreign currency.

Decreased Foreign Investment

A drop in foreign investment can cause a decline in foreign cash inflows, which can cause a scarcity of foreign currency.

Political Instability or Economic Uncertainty

As investors and companies try to protect their investments, political turmoil or economic instability may cause a currency outflow from the nation.

Central Bank Policies

To manage foreign exchange reserves and maintain the currency's value, the Central Bank of Nigeria may impose rules or limitations on using the Naira in international trade. If the demand for foreign money outgrows the supply, this could result in a shortage.


High inflation rates can cause the value of the Naira to fall and foreign investment to shrink, both of which can lead to a shortage of foreign money.

Nigeria's Response to the Crisis

The Central Bank of Nigeria has imposed restrictions on using the Naira for overseas transactions to manage foreign exchange reserves and stabilize the currency's value to combat this currency crisis.

These restrictions can include the need for prior authorization from the Central Bank of Nigeria for foreign Naira transactions.

Examples of these transactions are personal remittances and business payments that want to send large amounts of money outside the country. However, these limitations may be determined by the transfer's goal and the money at stake.

But it's important to keep in mind that these limits could change depending on Nigeria's economy and the Central Bank of Nigeria's policies.

The Aftermath

All of these limits led to the growth of the black market for foreign exchange in Nigeria, where prices are very different from what the Central Bank of Nigeria says they should be.

Black markets for foreign money may develop in countries where the local currency restricts international transactions. This can also happen when the market rate differs from the official exchange rate.

In these circumstances, individuals and businesses could try to buy or sell foreign currency on the black market to get better exchange rates.

However, it is crucial to remember that trading in foreign currency on the black market is prohibited in Nigeria and can result in severe penalties like fines and jail time. Getting foreign currency from banks or exchange bureaux approved by the government is usually best.

Therefore, you should consult the Central Bank of Nigeria or a financial institution. It is to find the most up-to-date information or any restrictions that may be in place for international transactions involving the Naira.

Rules and Restrictions About Naira

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has instituted several rules and regulations governing the Naira's use in day-to-day transactions. A new directive titled "Naira Redesign Policy" was published by the CBN.

Some of the rules and restrictions include the following:

  • The weekly cap for cash withdrawals made over the counter (OTC) by individuals and corporate entities will now be ₦100,000 and ₦500,000, respectively. Processing fees of 5% and 10% will apply to withdrawals that exceed these.
  • While the current restrictions of ₦10,000,000 on clearing checks still apply, third-party cheques over ₦50,000 shall not be permissible for payment over the counter.
  • The maximum cash withdrawal through Automated Teller Machine (ATM) per week is ₦100,000, with a daily maximum of ₦20,000.
  • Only notes worth ₦200 or less may be deposited into the ATMs.
  • The daily cap on cash withdrawals from the point of sale (PoS) terminal is ₦20,000.

These rules and regulations aim to protect the value of the currency. They also ensure that everyone conducting financial transactions in Nigeria is fairly treated.

"Enabling the CBN to seize control of the money in circulation is another essential policy factor," says Mr. Godwin Emefiele, governor of the CBN.

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