Nigeria’s central bank ordered lenders to identify customers buying foreign exchange using fake documents and make their names public in a bid to stifle dollar arbitrage and control currency rates.
Authorities have noticed an increasing trend of “unscrupulous customers” purchasing dollars using fake visas or canceling their trip after buying foreign exchange, the Central Bank of Nigeria said on its website Wednesday.
The trend is a “threat to the stability and integrity of the forex market,” it said. The lenders have been given two weeks to publish the names of such customers.
The nearly 30% spread between the controlled rate of 411 naira to the dollar — which the regulator sells through banks — and the unauthorized market is alluring for some people in Africa’s biggest economy.
The central bank’s previous attempts, including scrapping sale of the greenback to money changers, in a bid to eliminate the parallel market haven’t worked.
The naira was trading at 526 to a dollar in the illegal market on Wednesday, according to Abokifx, an online platform that tracks the data.
Nigeria is under pressure to stabilize its currency, which it has devalued thrice since March last year as lower oil income, which accounts for about 90% of dollar earnings, put pressure on external reserves.