Nigeria Central Bank to Start Commodity Exchange in 90 Days

The Central Bank of Nigeria plans to obtain all the necessary approvals required to start the operations of a proposed commodities exchange within the next 90 days, Governor Godwin Emefiele said on Thursday.

“In the next 90 days we should be able to really begin the first launch and this will involve approvals on repositioning, restructuring, setting up bureaus, board structures, board committees, governance committees,” Emefiele said at a briefing in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The central bank obtained approval from President Muhammadu Buhari to restructure and reposition Nigeria Commodity Exchange to stabilize food prices in the West African nation, the governor said Tuesday at the end of the meeting of the monetary policy committee, where he kept interest rates on hold.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation of about 200 million people, is struggling with inflation that quickened to 15.8% in December, a three-year high, after the food component basket rose almost 20% from a year earlier.

The central bank, which already owns majority shares in the exchange, will partner with state-owned Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority and Africa Finance Corp. to reposition the commodity platform in a bid to resolve challenges faced in the production and marketing of food and agriculture produce in the country, Emefiele said.

The regulator also plans to engage Nigerian postal service to convert some of its assets to warehouses for the exchange. A previous plan to privatize the firm will be put on hold “given the unfortunate arbitrage opportunities which the government has noticed in the private sector arrangement, which has become an obstacle in moderating food price,” Emefiele said.

The central bank and partners are looking to invest at least 50 billion naira to build the infrastructure needed for the exchange, according to the governor.

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