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The financial services in Nigeria fall exclusively within the formal sector and are run from the larger cities or towns. The first bank in Nigeria, African Banking Corporation, was established in 1892 and no banking legislation existed until 1952. The banking sector has been the gauge of financial flow in the economy. It dominates over 65 % of activities in the Nigerian Stock exchange.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), was established by the CBN Act of 1958, and started operating on July 1, 1959. The bank acts as a regulator and through its Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, it achieves its objectives that include issuing legal tender, maintaining the external reserves of the country, promoting monetary stability and a sound financial environment, and acting as a banker of last resort and financial adviser to the federal government. The bank's use of capitalization has given more strength to the banking sector against an earlier failure by the central bank to control the fall of many merchant banks and commercial banks in the early 1990s. By 1990, the liberalizing agenda of an adopted Structural Adjustment Program led to unprecedented growth in the banking sector.

The current law under which the bank operates is the Central Bank of Nigeria Act No. 7, 2007 and includes another set of Nigerian banking laws such as Banking Act, 2004 (Act 673), Money Laundering Act (Prohibition) Act N0. 7, 2003 and Central Bank of Nigeria Bye-Laws L.N. 96 1959.

Nigeria Banks

The Central Bank of Nigeria has licensed 25 commercial and merchant banks and 5 discount houses to operate in the country which include:

Afribank, Citibank, Diamond Bank Limited, Ecobank, Equitorial Trust Bank Limited, Fidelity Bank Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, First City Monument Bank Limited., First Inland Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Intercontinental Bank ltd., Stanbic IBTC Bank Nigeria Limited, Oceanic Bank International (Nigeria) Limited., Bank PHB, Skye Bank , Spring Bank Plc, Zenith International Bank Limited, Nigerian Education Bank.


Nigerian currency exists in two forms, in Nairas as well Nigerian Dollars, both issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria. The official unit of currency in Nigeria is the Naira (currency sign: ₦ currency code: NGN) which was introduced in 1973, replacing the pound at a rate of 2 Naira = 1 Pound. 100 Nairas is equivalent to 1 NZ$ here each naira is sub-divided into 100 kobo. The Naira per US$ rate varies between 145 and 171(2009). Coins are issued in dominations of ½, 5, 10 and 25 kobo. Nigeria’s inflation rate was estimated at 11.5% in 2009.

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