The Nigerian Banking Sector Reforms: Power and Politics by Seth Apati (auth.)

By Seth Apati (auth.)

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Accordingly, there was an industry-wide parallel drop in interest rates and profit margins, which is consistent with most economic models. This systemic drop in industry profitability, with a concomitant sharp rise in non- performing loans, put several of the marginal banks at risk, providing another justification for the much-advocated banking reforms. 4 The great foreign exchange debate: ‘free funds’ and the FX era This section discusses the introduction of a dual exchange rate system in Nigeria, the import licensing regime in 1984, and the great question of whether the parallel markets and the official market exchange rates would converge.

4 The great foreign exchange debate: ‘free funds’ and the FX era This section discusses the introduction of a dual exchange rate system in Nigeria, the import licensing regime in 1984, and the great question of whether the parallel markets and the official market exchange rates would converge. Next, I discuss the suspension of almost a quarter of the nation’s banks (20 or 21 out of the 89 banks) from the CBN’s official foreign exchange market in 2001, based on allegations of ‘free funds’. Banks suspended included STB, Diamond Bank and FSB International, with some of the banks concerned taking the Central Bank of Nigeria to court.

By 1986, when it became obvious that the short-run fiscal stabilization measures were not effective and that government revenue as a percentage of GDP had fallen from 24 per cent in 1980 to 12 per cent in 1985, the inability of the federal government to defend the fixed exchange rate of the naira against selected international currencies in the face of declining foreign exchange reserves was also obvious. Two main options were open to the Nigerian government. The first was to accept the IMF Structural Adjustment Facility, including its stringent terms and conditions.

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