The latest data from the Central Bank of Nigeria shows that oil imports gulped a total of $770. 58m in the first half of this year.
The Punch reports that CBN’s data on sectoral utilisation for transactions valid for foreign exchange revealed that $ 148. 32 m was utilised in January; $ 145. 23 m in February, and $ 139. 55 m in March.
According to the report, forex for transactions in the oil sector fell to $113. 80 m in April and $109. 11m in May but rose to $ 114. 57 m in June.
The CBN data said that oil imports accounted for about 4. 35 per cent of the $ 17. 70 bn utilised for imports in the country from January to June.
The amount of foreign currency used for imports in the country stood at $3. 98 bn in January; $ 4. 98 bn in February and $ 5. 36 bn in March. It plunged to $1. 08 bn in April and $ 1. 06 bn in May but rose to $ 1. 24 bn in June.
Nigeria’s forex reserves had been on a downward trajectory for months until recently, falling to a record low of $33. 42 bn in April 2020 from a high of $45. 18 bn in June 2019.
According to the CBN, the reserves stood at $ 35. 79 bn as of September 14, 2020.
Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor, said at the Monetary Policy Committee meeting in March, that the depletion in forex reserves was driven by forex sales to the Bureaux de Change and the investors’ and exporters’ forex window, as well as dwindling oil receipts.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has been the major importer of petroleum products into the country in recent years.
Most marketers despite the recent petrol deregulation, have yet to resume petrol importation due to a lack of access to forex at the official rate.
Africa’s largest oil producer, Nigeria, relies largely on importation for petrol and other refined products as its refineries have remained in a state of disrepair for many years.
Nigeria refineries, located in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Warri, have a combined installed capacity of 445, 000 barrels per day but have continued to operate far below the installed capacity.