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Business Watch - 4 weeks ago

Nigerian students abroad groan over naira free fall


Parents and many Nigerian students studying abroad have groaned over the rising tuition fees following the free fall of naira against foreign currencies, including dollar and pounds.

For potential students trying to travel abroad for their studies, the exchange rates of naira to dollar and naira to pounds are taking a toll on them and their guardians who have to pay for ticketing and school fees.

In June 2023, the Nigerian government removed the rate cap in its official foreign exchange market, allowing market forces to determine the actual value of the naira.

This led to the devaluation of the naira. In July 2023 (about a month after the move), the national currency fell from 471/dollar to 750/dollar and 589.4/pound to 957.2/pound. As of January 24, the currency had further plunged to 887/dollar and 1133/pound.

At the parallel market, where most people meet their forex needs, the local currency exchanged 1,420/dollar on Friday.

As of Wednesday, the value stood at N1,455/$ on the Investor and Exporter Window.

The price of everything associated with relocation, including school fees, visa fees, and more has surged due to the significant depreciation of the naira.

Some students who spoke with our correspondents lamented their ordeals following the falling naira against foreign currencies.

A Nigerian student in the UK, Moyosore Salami, said he knew several persons who had returned to Nigeria over the exchange rate.

Salami said, “I have a lot of people that have gone back home due to the dollar rate. It’s really crazy. My first week in the UK, pounds was around N680 as today the pound is around N1,970.”

A Nigerian student in Canada, Seth Akande, while lamenting, said, “Well, the devaluation of naira and how it’s affecting me simply means whatever amount I need from Nigeria, it’s never enough. Every day the rates keep going up. Now you can’t plan for how much you will be converting or you are likely to pay with the steady increase in rate.

“Just months ago, I still changed the Canadian dollar to about N780 and as of this morning, 1 CAD is N1,169. Now, I can’t budget for how much I will be needing from Nigeria to pay fees, as it is only when you have the money available then you can say this is how much I am paying.

“As an international student, this even makes it worse because you pay 1.5 or two twice of what the citizens of the country pay, but that’s not the problem, the main problem is that the rate continues to increase.”

A Sokoto State indigene studying in Malaysia, Aisha Umar, who spoke with one of our correspondents, said when the naira got devalued, “our money becomes worthless compared to other currencies. So things like tuition fees and school expenses have become more expensive for us studying in Malaysia.”

A Nigerian student who was processing admission into a Canadian university noted that his admission was halted over the exchange rate debacle.

The student, Confidence Chujor, said, “The devaluation of naira has really affected me in the sense that the money I kept for my schooling is no longer enough for me. The price of everything has gone higher than the way it used to be. I now sleep in fear, praying and hoping that the rate goes down.”

“I have never in my life experienced this level of naira devaluation,” he said, adding “I can’t pay my tuition fee, I can’t afford to pay for flight. Medical (fee) which used to be N46,000 has got to N73,000. It would really be nice if I wake up one morning to hear that the rate of the dollar has gone down. I’m hoping for a miracle.”


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