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Naira Devaluation Unlikely as MPC Meets Today

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DOLLAR CURRENCY

Although experts have clamoured for the devaluation of the naira in the light of the nation’s depleting foreign exchange reserves, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Monetary Policy Committee may not do so during its first bi-monthly meeting for this year, it has been learnt.

Sources close to the CBN and members of the committee said the two-day meeting, which commences today (Monday), would only review policy measures taken so far in the past year, adding that key policy issues, especially as regards the need to devalue the naira, might be delayed till the March or May meeting.

It was further learnt that President Muhammadu Buhari’s stance of not devaluing the naira would influence the voting pattern of the 11-member MPC when issues that border on the exchange rate policy are considered.

The CBN has in the last one year adopted a number of administrative forex control measures to safeguard the naira in place of devaluation.

Although the naira has been pegged at between 197 and 199 at the interbank official market against the United States dollar, the local currency has fallen as low as 295 to the greenback at the parallel market.

The immediate past Governor of the CBN, Mallam Lamido Sanusi; Managing Director, Financial Derivatives Limited, Mr. Bismarck Rewane; and other local and foreign economists have called for the devaluation of the naira, insisting that the current forex control measures were counterproductive.

The forex control measures, which have to do with rationing the dollars, have hurt the economy amid slow growth.

But economists said although the way forward was for the MPC to adjust the exchange rate, they said this was unlikely considering the mood of the Federal Government.

“The mood of the Federal Government is that the rates will be kept unchanged. The Cash Reserve Ratio and the Monetary Policy Rate will be left unchanged, while the exchange rate will also be left unchanged,” the Managing Director, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Mr. Johnson CHukwu, said.

The Head, Research and Investment Advisory, Afrinvest West Africa Limited, Mr. Ayodeji Ebo, also predicted that the exchange rate, CRR and MPR would likely be left unchanged.

He, however, said the MPC might choose to adjust some of the forex control measures, saying, “The list of banned items may be reviewed considering the fact that the naira volatility became serious when those 41 items were banned from the official CBN window.”

Currency strategist at Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Kunle Ezun, said it was unlikely that the MPC would take any major policy decision, adding that the committee might delay major decisions till future meetings within the year.

Analysts at FBN Quest Research in their economic note said, “The next meeting of the MPC takes place in Abuja on Monday and Tuesday. Judging by the intensity of the media commentary, we could be forgiven for thinking that its only decision is whether to adjust its exchange rate policy.

“The depletion of official reserves, the slide in the oil price and the intermittent global market turmoil emanating from China and elsewhere could make a good case for devaluation. We are not so sure. The preference of the CBN and the MPC is to deploy administrative measures.

“We would not be surprised by some new measures. In any event, the committee may well want to assess the impact of its recent steps before announcing a devaluation, or even introducing some new ones.”

Meanwhile, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has asked the CBN to urgently articulate a comprehensive framework for the autonomous foreign exchange market.

According to the LCCI, the autonomous market is currently the major forex market and its scope needs to be clearly defined.

In a statement signed by the Director-General of the LCCI, Mr. Muda Yusuf, on Sunday, the chamber noted that the move would ensure a deeper forex market.

It added that sources of foreign exchange such as Diaspora remittances, export proceeds, forex sales by foreign investors and multinational companies as well as forex sales by donor agencies and other non-governmental organisations should be allowed to be freely traded in the autonomous market.

Punch

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Economy

eTax: Lagos Internal Revenue Optimises Payment for Taxpayers

The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) is currently optimizing its payment procedures for utmost efficiency and taxpayers’ convenience.

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Company Income Tax (CIT) - Investors King

The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) is currently optimizing its payment procedures for utmost efficiency and taxpayers’ convenience.

The Executive Chairman of the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, Mr Ayodele Subair, in a statement issued on Sunday, said the Agency, as part of its digitalization process, is discontinuing all previously used bill references effective from August 1st, 2022.

Consequently, according to the Chairman, only the Enterprise Tax Solutions (eTax), generated bill references will be acceptable for tax payments.

The eTax platform, (https://etax.lirs.net) which went live in October 2019, was launched by LIRS to engender seamless tax operations and reduce compliance costs to taxpayers. Since its launch, eTax has improved the effectiveness of tax administration in Lagos State.

Mr Subair added that the eTax was built as a one-stop shop for all tax transactions, and it is in the same spirit that the generation of bill references, required for all tax payments is now exclusive to the eTax platform.

He reiterated that by the cutoff date of August 1st, 2022, eTax would become the only authorized channel to generate bill reference for tax payments and other tax-related transactions in Lagos State.

To generate a bill reference on e-Tax, taxpayers can use the 5 easy steps below:

1. Visit https://etax.lirs.net

2. Input your Payer ID and password to log in

3. Select revenue type, and upload schedule (For PAYE & Withholding Taxes)

4. Generate a bill reference

5. Make a payment on any of the multiple channels available, using the generated bill reference.

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Economy

Gas Flaring: Nigeria Flares Gas Worth $13.3 Billion in 10 Years

Despite efforts to commercialise Nigeria’s gas and plans to start supplying gas to Europe via Morocco, an estimated $13.3 billion or N4 trillion worth of gas was flared in the last 10 years,

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gas flaring

Despite efforts to commercialise Nigeria’s gas and plans to start supplying gas to Europe via Morocco, an estimated $13.3 billion or N4 trillion worth of gas was flared in the last 10 years, the Nigerian gas flare tracker of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) report showed.

Between 2012 and 2021, Nigeria flared 3.8 billion standard cubic feet (scf) both onshore and offshore according to the report.

NOSDRA estimated that Nigeria flared gas valued at $13.3 billion in the last decade. This amount when converted to Naira, using exchange rates in the last 10 years, puts the cumulative value at N4 trillion.

In the last 10 years, Nigeria cut gas flaring by 31 percent, far below the nation’s estimated target. This was largely due to the inability of President Buhari’s administration to kickstart the gas flare commercialisation programme approved by the government in 2016.

Collins Obi, an energy specialist, explained that with Western nations imposing sanctions on Russian gas consumption following the Moscow invasion of Russia, gas security is now a priority in Europe.

“Thus, Nigeria needs to position itself for the economic growth opportunity this presents,” he said.

A corporate intelligence lead at GAS360, Oreoluwa Owolabi said the amount of gas flaring going on in Nigeria highlighted its riches in gas and other energy resources but poor energy management and supply techniques.

“We need to invest in infrastructure to distribute the gas to where it would be commercially viable. This could be for export or pipelines across the country for electricity generation,” he said. “It requires a government-led effort, and the government has already taken some steps towards stopping flaring by 2030.”

He, however, added that because international communities have started accepting gas as a necessary fuel.

“This can be used to accelerate Africa’s net-zero transition and there would be more funds available for gas projects, which can partially finance our infrastructure development,” Owolabi added.

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Economy

$2 Billion Lekki Deep Sea Port Berths First Cargo

The Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) on Friday announced that the $2 billion Lekki Deep Sea Port in Lagos has docked its first ship.

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Deep Sea port - Investors King

The Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) on Friday announced that the $2 billion Lekki Deep Sea Port in Lagos has docked its first ship.

Mohammed Bello-Koko, the Managing Director of NPA, who received the marine vessel “Zhen Hua 28”, explained that the Lekki Deep Sea Port would help decongest Apapa Ports and reduce ship waiting time by about 60%.

Estimated at $2 billion, Lekki Deep Seaport was constructed by China Habour Engineering firm to ease shipment pressure and improve the efficiency of Nigeria’s maritime economy.

According to Koko, the port has the capacity to evacuate and handle more cargoes because of a series of automation integrated into it during construction.

“The successful delivery today (yesterday) at the Lekki Deep Seaport of three Super Post Panamax state-of-the art Ship to Shore (STS) Cranes and 10 Rubber Tyred Gantries (RTG) is a testament to the unflinching commitment of NPA to providing the support necessary for placing Nigeria on the global list of countries with Deep Seaports.

Koko said: “The successful delivery of these very important equipment which are critical for the Lekki Deep Seaport to commence operations before the end of the year 2022 is a demonstration of our readiness to take trade facilitation a notch higher. This has been made possible by the tremendous backing of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Ministry of Transportation who have over the time played a key role from the initial construction stage and also granted fast tracked approval for this historic exercise.

“For us at the NPA, the coming on stream of Lekki symbolises a lot of positives. Apart from being Nigeria’s first Deep Seaport, Lekki Port will also be the first fully automated port at take-off. This provides an insight into the path we are already toeing as a management team to govern the operationalisation of not just the forthcoming Badagry, Ibom and Bonny Deep Seaports, but also of the reconstruction of the aged Tin-Can Port, where work is set to commence once we secure the necessary approvals from the Federal Ministry of Transportation and FEC, respectively.”

He stated that “automation remains the most veritable tool for assuring port efficiency, and as most of us are aware, the NPA is working assiduously under the technical guidance of the International Maritime Organization to deploy the Port Community System (PCS), which will enable us respond squarely to the dictates of global trade facilitation and optimise the opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement to which Nigeria is signatory.”

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