Essentially, with oil being Nigeria's biggest export, the government relies heavily on the resource for dollar earnings to fund its national budget.
One unfolding real-time effect is a US dollar shortage that's already manifesting on parallel forex markets with the informal dollar dealers who often operate just in front or across the road from airports and top hotels in the business districts of Lagos and Abuja.
Over the past two days, naira to dollar exchange rates-which have stayed quite stable at around 360 naira to the dollar since mid-2017-have reached 430 naira.
With Nigeria's economy perennially import-dependent, a dollar crunch typically affects a wide range of businesses that require hard currency to fund imports of input materials in a country whose weak industrial base means it makes very little from scratch.
The availability of dollars is also typically a hot button issue among middle class Nigerians, a key demography, who can afford foreign travel, health care or even education-Nigerians spent $514 million to school in the United States in 2018.While still in its infancy, the growing dollar shortage will feel very familiar for most Nigerians.
While the government might be ordinarily reticent to do so, Mathias Hindar, Sub-Saharan Africa analyst at Falanx Assynt, says sustained low oil prices will "See the government's ability to protect the naira diminish." For its part, Aza Traders, an African currency broker, is advising clients to "Reduce exposure" to the naira as it expects "Further weakening" in the coming days.
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