This was as he disclosed that the nation’s foreign reserves stood at $31 billion.
Emefiele who was in the Senate on Tuesday to brief the leadership of the Upper Chamber on the state of the nation’s economy as it affects the foreign exchange markets, expressed optimism that the nation would soon be out of recession.
He said: “And indeed we have started to see a downward trend even in prices and you also must have observed that inflation is also trending downward. We are very much optimistic that by the end of the second quarter, at the very latest, third quarter, we should be out of recession that we are in right now
“I think what is important is that last week we brought out an announcement which is meant to encourage our foreign investor community to get involved as well in the foreign exchange market.
”It is the market or window that is opened for them to inflow their foreign exchange and come into the market on what we called a “willing buyer, willing seller” basis in which case there will be no form of any price intervention by anybody and indeed even including the Central Bank.”
According to him, “the apex bank has within the last two months, been involved in some form of intensive intervention in the foreign exchange market and that the exercise has fortunately resulted in a downward trend in the parallel market price of foreign exchange from as higher as N525 to as low as N370. Right now it hovers between N370 to N380.
“I think it’s an opportunity for me to say that we are going to continue this intervention because the reserve looks very good. As I speak to you, our reserve stands at above $31 billion and that provides us enough of firepower or ammunition to be able to defend the currency and we will do so with all intensity to ensure that foreign exchange is procured by everybody.”
Continuing, Emefiele said, “You want to import raw materials, you will get foreign exchange, you want to import plant and equipment you will get foreign exchange, you want to pay school fees or you are a small business that wants to buy foreign exchange for you to import your small items you will procure foreign exchange.”
The apex bank’s governor assured that with the kind of firepower that the bank has kick started in the foreign exchange market, it would ensure that as the prices move on, based on the managed float regime, it should be able to control the price based on willing buyer and a willing seller.