EconomyFact Check

Viral CBN release on policy actions in Foreign Exchange Market, from 2017

Claim: On Wednesday, June 14, social media users circulated an undated press release from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) titled ‘New Policy Actions in the Foreign Exchange Market’. They claimed the country’s apex bank recently released the statement.

Verdict: False! Although the press release is from the Central Bank, it was released in 2017.

Full Text

On Wednesday, June 14, 2023, it was reported that Nigeria’s apex bank had directed commercial banks to trade foreign exchange at any exchange rate.

This comes a few weeks after the new president, Bola Tinubu, assumed office. During his inauguration speech, the president promised to harmonise the country’s multiple interest rates.

Some analyses have shown that this action by the CBN will permit banks to sell forex at market-determined rates, suggesting Nigeria is now operating a freely floating exchange rate.

While the reports cited sources at the Central Bank of Nigeria, they all noted no official confirmation from the apex bank, which should be expected later in the day.

Some social media users have, however, started circulating a press release which is purportedly released from the CBN. The press release, ‘New Policy Actions in the Foreign Exchange Market,’ is said to speak to the news regarding the new CBN action. 

According to the release, the CBN “will provide additional direct funding to banks to meet the needs of Nigerians for Personal and Business Travel, Medical needs, and School fees, effective immediately’. 

On the press release was an appended signature of the CBN’s director of corporate communications, Isaac Okoroafor, giving it further credibility. 

The old viral press release. Source: WhatsApp 

Verification 

A keyword search on the official social media handles of the CBN showed that the apex bank had released a press release utterly different from what was circulated yesterday.  

The new press release titled “Operational changes to the foreign exchange market” was signed by Angela Sere-Ejembi, Director of Financial Markets, on June 14, 2023.

Meanwhile, a visit to the CBN’s website showed that the circulated document was uploaded on February 20, 2017. The document titled ‘New Policy Actions in the Foreign Exchange Market’ has reference number CCD/GEN/PR/200217.

CBN press release website archives. Source: CBN website 

At the time of the release, the CBN said it would provide direct, immediate additional funding to banks to meet the personal, business, medical as well educational demands of Nigerians.

This is a result of difficulties Nigerians were reportedly facing while trying to access Forex for transactions. Thus, it took the step to ease the pain of accessing Forex.

Conclusion

While the press release is from the CBN, it is dated as far back as February 2017, when former President Muhammadu Buhari was still in office. It is not a current report. The CBN has issued a new press release to that effect. 

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