Foreign investors took $2.74 billion out of Nigeria in the first three months of 2013. This was indicated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in its economic report for the first quarter of 2013. According to the report, foreign exchange outflow from the economy in the first was $6.54 billion.
This outflow was dominated by foreign exchange outflows for 'invincibles'. Invincible represents money took out of the economy by foreign investors as dividend payment or liquidation of portfolio investment (bonds, equities, treasury bills).
A top foreign exchange and foreign trade expert who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity said that this development indicate serious capital flight out of the country.
This notwithstanding the economy recorded more foreign exchange inflow than outflow in the first quarter.
The report said, "Provisional data on aggregate foreign exchange flows through the economy indicated that total inflow amounted to US$34.47 billion, representing an increase of 13.5 and 20.9 per cent above the levels in the preceding quarter and the corresponding quarter of 2012, respectively. Oil sector receipts, which accounted for 29.1 per cent of the total, stood at US$10. 01 billion, compared with the respective levels of US$10.09 billion and US$11.63 billion in the preceding quarter and corresponding quarter of 2012.
"Non-oil public sector inflows, which accounted for 1.4 per cent of the total foreign exchange flows declined significantly by 54.1 per cent below the preceding quarters level, while autonomous inflow, which accounted for 69.5 per cent, increased by 32.8 per cent above the preceding quarters.
"At $6.54 billion, aggregate foreign exchange outflow from the economy Fell by 19.9 and 35.2 per cent below the levels in the preceding quarter and corresponding quarter of 2012, respectively. The fall in outflow, relative to the preceding quarter, was accounted for largely, by the 49.3 and 72.9 per cent decline in other official payments and autonomous sources (imports and invisibles), respectively.
"The invisible sector accounted for the bulk (42.4 per cent) of total foreign exchange disbursed in the first quarter of 2013, followed by industrial sector (18. 9 per cent). Other beneficiary sectors, in a descending order included: mineral and oil sector (15.0 per cent), manufactured products (10.5 per cent), food products (8.9 per cent) , transport sector (3.9 per cent) and agricultural products (0.4 per cent).
"Foreign Exchange Flows Provisional data on foreign exchange flows through the CBN showed that inflow during the first quarter of 2013 amounted to US$10.50 billion, representing a decline of 6.0 and 13.3 per cent below the levels in the preceding quarter and the corresponding period of 2012, respectively. "