The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that
Nigerians aspiring to secure admission to foreign universities spent about
$340.84 million on application fees between January and June 2023.
The figure marked a notable fall of 44.28 percent when
compared to the previous quarter.
According to the data, which detailed records on expenditure
for educational services within the foreign exchange sector, Nigerians spent
$40.54 million in April for foreign education and the amount will slightly
increase to $48.81 million in May 2023.
However, in June 2023, there was a noticeable decline in
spending, with just $32.61 million going towards foreign education.
When contrasting this with the $218.88 million spent in the
first quarter of 2023, the reduction becomes even more obvious—a decrease of
$96.92 million, equivalent to 44.28 percent.
Comparing the first half of 2023 to the same period in the
previous year, the performance decline stands at a significant $124.42 million,
or 50.5 percent.
However, the disturbing issue about the figure is the lack
of significant reciprocity in terms of funds flowing back into the local
education sector from foreign academic institutions.
As a consequence of the recent FX harmonisation policy,
which has made it very challenging to get foreign exchange from CBN, many
students have resorted to getting theirs from Bureau de Change operators. This
is often due to delays in banks processing the requisite Form A.
It was noted as verified by recent data obtained from the
British Home Office, that this disclosed a remarkable increase in the number of
study visas granted to Nigerians. These numbers rose by a staggering 222.8
percent, with 65,929 visas issued as of June 2022, compared to 20,427 during
the same period in 2021.
The CBN grapples with a backlog of accumulated forex demand
in the official market, which effectively pushes individuals and businesses to
resort to the black market to acquire dollars.
The shrinking dollar inflow to Nigeria over recent years is a
result of declining investments and a reduction in crude oil exports, which
account for more than 90 percent of the country’s export income.
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