The Central Bank of Nigeria has expressed its readiness to support the refinery, fertiliser and petrochemical complex being built by Dangote Industries Limited in Lagos by providing foreign exchange for the importation of equipment.
The central bank said the project, when completed, would fetch the country about $6bn in foreign exchange yearly through the export of products from the plants.
The refinery, which has crude processing capacity of 650,000 barrels per day, is expected to come on stream by mid-2018, with major products such as petrol, high speed diesel and Jet A1, while the fertiliser plant is expected to start production next year.
Most of the refinery process units have been designed by M/S UOP as a managing licensor, while the balance process units are being designed by M/S Jacobs, Dupont/MECS, Ineos and Air Liquide, the company said.
The Governor, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who spoke during a tour of the project site on Sunday, said, “About two and a half to three years ago, Alhaji Aliko Dangote actually came to the banks. At that time, I was an operator, and he said he wanted to go into fertiliser, petrochemical as well as refinery business.
“We started with the fertiliser side of it; but today, these three projects are costing them about $14bn (N2.8tn), out of which he is contributing 50 per cent. I have come here to see so that I can also tell Nigerians that we need to give support to people like Aliko Dangote for what they are doing for Nigeria. This is a time when we are talking about diversifying our economy away from oil.”
Noting that the plants would produce ammonia, urea, propylene, polypropylene and other petroleum products, Emefiele said, “These are products that we today import into the country. If we calculate how much the country spends on the importation of these products into Nigeria, consuming foreign exchange, this stands at close to 35 to 40 per cent of our import needs.
“We expect that by the time these projects are completed, they will not only meet our domestic needs, Dangote will be exporting these products to the point where he will be selling foreign exchange to Nigerians and the Central Bank of Nigeria to the tune of almost about $6bn a year.
“That is the kind of projects that we think we should support, and we think we need to encourage more Nigerians to begin to think like Aliko Dangote. If you have somebody who has contemplated a project of $14bn and he is contributing 50 per cent as equity into that project, we have to give him foreign exchange to import the equipment. We need to support companies like this.
Emefiele said before he became the CBN governor, Dangote had come with a bill of almost $4bn for the importation of the equipment.
According to him, the CBN told Dangote to commit to the importation of the equipment and that the bank would stagger the repayment and offer its support by providing foreign exchange.
He added, “And that is what we are doing and that is the kind of support we can give to people like this who are contemplating moving Nigeria away from an importer of all these products to an exporter.
“Indeed, we are not even selling $4bn to Aliko Dangote. If he needs naira, we will give him naira at concessionary rates. If he needs dollar to import the equipment, we will do so because he doesn’t need raw materials by the time the projects come on stream.”
Naira Slides Marginally Against US Dollar, Exchanges at N415
The Nigerian Naira fell slightly against the United States Dollar on Monday, according to the last update from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The local currency was exchanged at N414.89 per dollar on Friday before depreciating by N0.11 or 0.03 percent to N415 on Monday.
It should be recalled that the Naira plunged to N435 against the United States on Friday 31, December 2021 when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) adjusted its exchange rate by N2 to accommodate the change in Nigeria’s economic realities.
The Naira has now improved by about 4.6 percent against the United States Dollar from the year to date. The improvement was after the market digested and interpreted the CBN action as the usual forex devaluation in line with the apex bank policy.
At the unregulated black market, traders in Abuja sold the greenback at N570 a unit and buy it at N569. CBN had attributed Nigeria’s forex challenges to the activities of black market operators and warned Nigerians to stop patronising that section of forex.
Meanwhile, the crypto space remained bearish across the board ahead of US Federal Reserve rate decisions. Bitcoin to Naira exchange rate declined by 2.5 percent to N17.346 million in the last 24 hours while Eth shed 3.6 percent.
Other cryptocurrencies suffer the same fate as Binance coin, Tether, Cardano and XRP depreciated by 3.70 percent, 0.31 percent, 1.72 percent and 2.93 percent.
Bitcoin looks vulnerable above the $41,000 support level, largely due to the drop in capital inflow into the crypto space ahead of a possible interest rate increase in the world’s largest economy, the United States.
“Bitcoin continues to look vulnerable having failed to bounce back strongly off the recent lows. It appeared to be gathering some upside momentum at times last week but it quickly ran into resistance just shy of $45,000 where it had previously seen support. All eyes are now on $40,000 and whether we’re going to see another run at that major support level,” said Craig Erlam, Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA, OANDA, in an email to Investors King.
Naira Gains 1.58 Percent to N416 at Official FX Market, Bitcoin, Other Cryptocurrencies Plunge
The Nigerian Naira gained 1.58 percent or N7.56 against the United States Dollar at the official forex market on Wednesday.
The local currency opened the day at N423.56 to a US Dollar before improving in value to N416 against the greenback. At the official forex window managed by the FMDQ Group, investors traded $114.95 million on Wednesday.
The improvement in Naira value was after the market had digested the Central Bank of Nigeria’s currency adjustment. The central bank had adjusted the Naira to Dollar exchange rate by N2 from N411 to N413 on Friday, leading to devaluation outcry across Africa’s largest economy.
On Friday, the Naira plunged to as low as N435 against the United States Dollar at the official forex trading market and N575 at the unregulated parallel market, popularly known as the black market, before moderating to N416.
Meanwhile, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies plunged across the board. Bitcoin depreciated by 7.16 percent to $43,058 per coin in the last 24 hours. The decline does not stop there as the second most capitalised digital asset, Eth dipped by 9.77 percent to $3,441.
Solana, Ripple (XRP), Luna and Cardano (ADA) lost 11.48 percent, 8.13 percent, 9.5 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively.
The decline was after the US Federal Reserve minutes of December 14 – 15 meeting released on Wednesday revealed that policymakers are planning to raise interest rates as early as March 2022 to curb escalating inflation rate. Generally, hawkish monetary policy is negative for cryptocurrency as it drags on capital inflow into the space and encourages investors to look into more stable assets for higher interest rates.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the “Federal Reserve officials at their meeting last month eyed a faster timetable for raising interest rates this year, potentially as soon as in March, amid greater discomfort with high inflation.
“Minutes of their Dec. 14-15 meeting, released Wednesday, showed officials believed that rising inflation and a very tight labor market could call for lifting short-term rates “sooner or at a faster pace than participants had earlier anticipated.”
Naira Opens 2022 at N426.25 Against the United States Dollar at Official Forex Window
The Nigerian Naira opened the new year at N426.25 against the United States Dollar on Tuesday, January 4, 2022, at the official foreign exchange window managed by the FMDQGroup.
The local currency plunged to N435 against the US Dollar on Friday after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) adjusted its Naira to Dollar exchange from N411 to N413.49. The adjustment is in line with Godwin Emefiele, governor of the CBN, statement that the country operated a managed-float exchange policy.
Naira pared losses against the US Dollar on Tuesday after forex traders, speculators and hoarders might have analysed CBN forex action and interpreted it as the usual adjustments.
At the unregulated parallel market known as the black market, the Naira plunged to N570 against the United States Dollar on January 4th, 2022. Despite the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) discouraging patronage at that section of forex, many Nigerians still relied on the black market for their forex needs.
However, the adjustment may not be unconnected to the change in Nigeria’s economic fundamentals. For instance, the nation’s foreign reserves used to back the Naira have been on a downward trend since hitting $41.8 billion on October 29, 2021. Presently, the reserves stood at $40.5 billion. This is despite oil prices trading at almost $80 a barrel, the highest in recent years.
But because of Nigeria’s inability to improve its production process, lower cost of production and generally increase crude oil output, it has failed to take advantage of the surge in oil prices. Therefore, the CBN adjusted Naira to Dollar exchange rate to reflect the nation’s economic reality of insufficient forex and also enable it meet demands.
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