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Nearly all of Nigeria's foreign exchange assets before
1970s were held in British pounds sterling. Under the
War II IMF modified gold exchange standard, which lasted
1973, sterling was a key currency in international trade.
country that accumulated sterling, as Nigeria did in the
years before 1955, mostly years of restrictions on
convertibility, essentially extended credit to Britain.
this period, Nigeria restricted nonsterling imports,
strengthening the balance-of-payments positions of the
area and Britain's international financial position.
From 1956 to 1965, Nigeria had a persistent merchandise
deficit, which changed to a surplus in the period between
and 1977 (including the 1967-70 civil war) with
growth as an export commodity (see
table 15, Appendix). In
1977 and 1978, demand for Nigeria's low-sulfur crude
oil became available from the North Sea, Alaska, and
as global oil companies reacted to the less favorable
participation terms offered by the Nigerian government.
for the period from 1979 to 1980, when oil shortages and
increased, demand for Nigerian crude remained sluggish
1990. From 1978 through 1983 the trade deficit continued.
early 1984, the Nigerian government closed Nigeri's land
and international airports for several days, replaced all
naira notes with new currency bills, and introduced tough
exchange-control regulations designed to reduce the
of naira smuggled abroad and prevent future convertibility
From 1984 through 1986 and in 1990, Nigeria had
but not because of export expansion, but because an
breakdown forced Nigeria to adopt severe import
Nigeria's structural adjustment under World Bank auspices
some stability in the domestic and international economy
the expense of falling real wages and decreased government
spending for much of the late 1980s.
Data as of June 1991