The outstanding LCs and dollar requests totalled $4.02bn and they were filed when the naira exchange rate was 197 to a dollar. The requests were honoured on the day the new policy commenced but at the new exchange rate of N280 to the dollar.
The aggregate amount bid for by the manufacturers under the former exchange rate of N197 to a dollar was N827.4bn, but the amount they were asked to pay based on the new rate was N1.176tn. The manufacturers were required to come up with the difference of N348.6bn.
Some of the manufacturers, who spoke to our correspondent on Sunday, said they were not happy about the development, adding that they did not incur the losses in the course of doing business but that they arose as a result of a government policy.
They said more job losses and company closures would be the consequence of making them to pay the difference between the old and new exchange rates.
According to them, they got wind of the development when the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, called a stakeholders’ meeting on Friday before the commencement of the policy.
The governor reportedly informed the manufacturers that the apex bank had decided to honour the backlog of dollar requests, adding, however, that the backlog would have to be paid at the new exchange rate of N280 to a dollar instead of N197.
When the industrialists expressed concerns about the difference in rates, they were said to have been told by the CBN that they would have to be bear it.
A major manufacturer of household items, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told our correspondent, “We already knew what the position of the CBN governor was because he had told us that the gap and losses were meant to be taken care of by us. He actually expected us to make losses.