By Dipo Olowookere The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sold a total of $989.6 million to importers and retail customers in January with commercial banks allocating them at rates as low as N466.75k, a record low by banks for sale to customers, data has shown. According Reuters, this was prior to the central bank\u2019s decision in February to sell Dollars to Nigerians wanting to pay for travels, foreign medical bills or school fees at around 20 percent above the official rate of N305. Nigeria has been running short of Dollars as a result of lower global prices for oil, its major export. The economy shrank last year for the first time in quarter of a century. The shortage has weakened the naira on the black market, where it trades far lower than the official interbank rate. The January figures also showed that Access Bank Plc exchanged $50 million with the United States lender, JP Morgan, at N400 per dollar, and another $100 million with South Africa\u2019s ABSA at N329. It showed a range of between N257.50k and N466.75k for dollar allocations in January. One commercial bank sold the Dollar as low as N466.75k for school fees, while another sold at N257.50k for spare parts in January. The central bank settled some futures contract at N274 per Dollar at the January sale. Last week, the bank sold a total of $780 million in forward contracts to support the Naira after effectively devaluing the currency for individuals, offering to sell them Dollars at about half the premium the black market charges. On Thursday, it said it would sell forward contracts on the Dollar via a book-building process to clear dollar demand for importers but not disclose how much was on offer. Though the central bank has stepped up dollar supply in recent days, the currency still trades at a more-than 30 percent premium on the black market.