The US dollar has increased to N760 ahead of the inauguration of the new administration as politicians, including candidates for the National Assembly’s presiding officers, scramble for foreign currency.
On May 29, 2023, the incoming administration will take office. The incoming president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is set to issue a proclamation letter on June 13 to officially start the 10th Assembly.
According to a variety of Bureau de Change (BDC) operators, the dollar increased to N760 on Thursday in Abuja from its previous range of N735 over the previous four weeks.
The dollar recorded an N12 gain, the largest in recent memory, according to one of the BDC owners.
“On Wednesday, it was selling for N748 as of 8pm. But today (Thursday) it is selling for N761 as of 6 pm. This is because of the mad rush for the currency by politicians,” he said.
According to him, the contenders for presiding officers of the National Assembly are reaching out to their colleagues with dollars.
“Through their agents, they are mopping up the currency. We were told that the assembly would be inaugurated next month. Aside from contenders, some people are converting their assets to dollars ahead of the inauguration. They are afraid of the policies the new administration may introduce,” he said.
Market factors behind dollar hike – BDCs
Speaking on the development, a Bureau de Change operator in Abuja, Ahmed Sabitu, said a dollar is now exchanged for N760.
“Today, if you want to buy, we will sell it to you at N760 to $1, but if you are selling, we will give it to you at N750,” he said.
Asked why the hike in price, he said, “Market forces have made the dollar increase, and there is nothing we can do about it.”
A BDC operator in Kano, Sharaffadin Bello, said in Kano, a dollar is exchanged for N750 if one is buying. He added that “If you are selling, we will buy at N745 per dollar.”
Another BDC operator in Lagos, Yusuf Baba Ringim, said the price depends on how much a customer wants to exchange.
“If you’re buying $1,000 and above, we will sell it at N755 per dollar, but if it is anything less than that, then you have to pay N760 per dollar,” Ringim explained.
Asked when the currency exchange rate rose, Ringim said, “Only last week, and we have to work according to the market.”
N/Assembly leadership contenders woo lawmakers with dollars
Three weeks before the inauguration of the 10th Assembly, aspirants for the Senate presidency and House of Representatives speaker’s position have been reaching out to lawmakers-elect, allegedly with thousands of dollars, to get their votes during the election of principal officers.
Senators Godswill Akpabio (Akwa-Ibom), Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia), and Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), among others, are in the race for the Senate presidency.
For the House of Representatives Speaker’s position, the contenders are: Deputy Speaker Ahmed Idris Wase (Plateau), Tajudeen Abbas (Kaduna), Mukhtar Betara (Borno), Yusuf Gagdi (Plateau), Sada Soli Jibia (Katsina), Aminu Sani Jaji (Zamfara), and Mariam Odinaka Onuoha (Imo), among others.
Before the leadership of the APC released its zoning formula, the race, according to multiple sources, was almost turning into an election of the highest bidder, with contenders racing to outspend themselves.
Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno), in an interview with BBC Hausa, said some lawmakers eyeing the Senate presidency seat were inducing their colleagues with money in exchange for votes.
“There are senators aspiring to be Senate president who give money to senators,” he said.
Lawmakers confirmed to the Daily Trust that even the APC zoning arrangement had not stopped some aspirants from dolling out dollars to their colleagues, as some insist on going ahead with their bids for the Senate presidency and speakership.