LAGOS, May 28 (Reuters) - Nigeria's interbank lending rate eased slightly to an average of 8.25 percent on Thursday from 8.5 percent last week on the back of increased liquidity after the government paid public workers wages and joint venture partners.
The state paid out a total of about 105 billion naira ($528 million) in wages and contributions to partners involved in joint oil production ventures with the government, boosting liquidity levels and forcing down lending rates, dealers said.
Traders said though the central bank withdrew around 45.7 billion naira to meet the new Cash Reserves Requirement (CRR) on Thursday, the market had comfortable liquidity levels.
The central bank last week harmonised the CRR on public and private sector deposits to 31 percent. Previously the CRR on private sector deposits was 20 percent and 75 percent for public sector deposits.
Traders said liquidity would also be adequate next week.
"We are going to have a very liquid market next week because of anticipated injection of additional cash from maturing treasury bills, and a possible stable lending rates in the market," one dealer said.
Banks had a cash balance of about 300 billion naira at the central bank by Wednesday compared with 220 billion naira last week's Thursday.
The secured Open Buy Back was unchanged at 8 percent, compared with the central bank's 13 percent benchmark rate.
The overnight placement also fell to 8.5 percent against 9 percent last week.
$1 = 198.95 naira Reporting by Oludare Mayowa; Editing by James Macharia