Dollar is scarce in Nigeria due to the poor state of the country’s economy and the CBN is tightly control it’s exchange.
The CBN set the official exchange rate of dollar to naira at around N415/$ – this is the rate at which the apex bank sells to commercial banks who in turn sell to their customers at a similar rate. But getting dollar at this rate or at all from your local commercial banks will take more than a smile.
Earlier this month, most commercial banks notified their customers that their will be a reduction in the amount of dollar available to each customer per month – most reduced it from an average of $100 monthly to now less than $20 monthly for customers with Naira debit cards. The CBN further announced a reduction in both Personal Travel Allowance PTA and Business Travel Allowance BTA.
All these is as a result of the Nigerian economy not being diversified and the dollar scarcity that has been plaguing the country for a while now. And if you’re a freelancer or anyone in need of dollars for your business, all these can be an encumbrance.
Luckily, there’s a little work around you can use to get as much dollar as you need. Tho at a much higher rate but you get all the dollar you need.
How to Exchange naira for dollar
Firstly, if you need dollar to import anything into the country or you need it for other legitimate purposes, you should try getting it from your bank first. The official exchange rate at the bank will be around N415/$ compared to the almost N580/$ you will get it otherwise. You stand to loose almost 160/$. Meaning if you exchange $100 you would pay an extra N16,000 and you pay an extra N160,000 for every $1000 you buy from the black market. Due to the high volatility of the exchange rates, see the current CBN and Aboki exchange rates.
If you’ve tried your bank and you don’t qualify for the official exchange rate or you need more than the bank is offering, here’s what to do;
open a domiciliary account
Walk into any commercial bank of your choice and ask them to open a dollar domiciliary account for you. It’s just the same requirements and process as opening your normal naira account but you’ll have to provide two sureties who have a current account to stand as a guarantor for you. This suretie requirement is the hardest part about owning a domiciliary account but once you get past it you have a fully functioning domiciliary account. The account comes with a debit card for online or other web transactions.
Buy dollar at the black market
Ones you have a functional domiciliary account, you can buy dollar from the black market for use. The black market are unofficial currency exchangers popularly called Aboki in Nigeria. They are usually located at the airport and major hotels in cities across Nigeria. You can simply google their location for your city. The one disadvantage of buying dollar from the black market is that the sell at a much higher rate compared to the official market as earlier explained. You might be paying upto #580/$ as at against the official exchange rate of #415/$.
Deposit your dollars and spend
Ones you exchanged your naira for dollar from Aboki, you can deposit it in your domiciliary account if you have the need to. You can deposit the dollar through thesame process you would naira at The bank, tho via a different counter. But ones you make the deposit you can then spend the dollar with your debit card online.
If you have a need to pay for stuff with dollar online but only have the naira equivalent, these work around might be for you. Banks limit the amount of dollar each customer can purchase with their naira debit cards directly, it’s less than $50 monthly for each customer. If you have the need to spend more dollars to pay for goods and services online and your bank doesn’t provide you with the official exchange rate, here’s what to do.
Open a domiciliary account, buy dollars from the black market, deposit same in your domiciliary account and start spending with your dollar debit card!