The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says the country’s foreign reserves crashed by $673.13 million from $36.57bn on June 1 to $35.89bn on July 28, 2020.
The latest figure was contained in the CBN first-quarter economic report, titled ‘Gross official external reserves’.
It said the gross external reserves fell in the first quarter of 2020 as it was $33.69bn at the end of March 2020.
The figure indicates a net decrease of 11.6 per cent, compared with the level in the fourth quarter of 2019.
The external reserves position would cover 4.5 months of import of goods and services or 7.3 months of import of goods only, based on the estimated value of imports for the first quarter of 2020, the report said.
According to a breakdown of the external reserves by ownership, the share of federation reserves was $0.32bn (0.9 per cent); Federal Government reserves, $5.85bn (17.4 per cent); and the CBN reserves, $27.52bn (81.7 per cent) of the total figure.
Speaking at the last Monetary Policy Committee meeting, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, described as urgent the need for the Federal Government to diversify the economy.
He said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government needs to reduce its reliance on oil revenue and to gradually improve tax collection.
“Central to the committee’s considerations were the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the oil price shock and the likely short to medium-term consequences on the Nigerian economy,” Emefiele said.
He, however, expressed optimism in the equities market.
The Governor said the committee acknowledges the gradual improvement in macroeconomic variables, adding that there is an improvement in the equities market and the containment measures of the COVID-19-induced health crisis.