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Naira Plunges Further; Now 372 a Dollar

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The acute scarcity of foreign exchange, especially the dollar, continued on Wednesday with the naira closing at 372 against the United States currency at the parallel forex market.

According to Punch, forex dealers linked the persistent fall of the naira to panic buying of the dollar and other major international currencies by importers, individuals and businessmen.

With the naira exchanging at 372 to the dollar, the local currency has lost 20 per cent of its value at the parallel market in the last 10 days.

The Central Bank of Nigeria has, however, left its official rate unchanged at N197 to the dollar at the interbank window.

The naira, which hit a record low of 352 against the greenback on Tuesday, had closed at 345 on Monday.

On Friday, the local currency fell to 338 against the US currency, a day after the Bankers’ Committee expressed concern over the mounting foreign exchange bills for school fees and medical bill payment.

The naira, which has been on a free fall in the past few weeks, fell steadily at the parallel market from 310 last Monday to 335 last Thursday.

Equities stocks fell almost by two per cent on Wednesday, hit by a major decline in cement companies’ shares, including Dangote Cement, which accounts for the third of local bourse capitalisation, Reuters reported.

The local bourse index dropped by 1.81 per cent to 24,070 points as investors took profits from previous gains on the stocks.

“Due to the rapid decline of the naira’s value, some offshore investors are booking profit and selling down their holdings,” one stockbroker said.

Shares in Dangote Cement fell by 4.11 per cent; Ashaka Cement was down by four per cent, while Cement Company of Northern Nigeria dropped by 8.89 per cent to drag the index down.

The currency and stock markets have been hit hard by the persistent fall in crude oil prices, Nigeria’s main export, causing a decline in government revenues and the exit of foreign investors from the local bourse.

A forex dealer at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, Mr. Saliu Mohammed, said the increasing demand for the greenback was overwhelming the market.

This, he said, was responsible for the naira’s free fall.

“Most individuals who sell (dollars) to us are no longer willing; but demand is piling up,” another dealer in Ikeja, who identified himself as Ibrahim Tukur, said.

Last month, the CBN banned dollar sales to the BDC operators, sending the naira to a record low at the black market, and later stopped the daily sale to the interbank market, in an effort to conserve the external reserves, now at their lowest in more than 11 years.

The nation realises around 90 per cent of its foreign exchange earnings from crude oil exports. The foreign reserves have fallen to $27.83bn as of February 12, data from the CBN website showed.

Commenting on the development, the Managing Director, Cowry Assets Management Limited, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, said, “The CBN does not have the forex to manage the exchange rate today. Unless we adjust the exchange rate, things may continue to get worse. As it is today, the naira can no longer be a store of value, going by the rate at which it is losing its value at the parallel market.

“Most people are buying dollar to store their wealth. We cannot ignore the parallel market because that is where most people are holding their transactions. A timely intervention by the Ministry of Finance and the CBN to give a clear guidance on how they intend to manage the exchange rate will save the day.”

 

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Finance

Unity Bank Partners RIFAN Mega Rice Pyramid Display, Pledges More Support for Farmers

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Agric-focused lender, Unity Bank Plc has partnered Nigerian rice farmers under the aegis of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN to unveil a mega rice pyramid on the occasion of the National Rice Festival held in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on Tuesday.

The event, which coincided with the flag-off of the dry season farming, was used to showcase the gains produced by rice farmers in driving self-sufficiency in rice production through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers Programme, ABP.

Speaking to newsmen at the event, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Unity Bank, Mrs. Tomi Somefun, while going down memory lane on the support of the rice farmers by the Bank since the inception of the Anchor Borrowers Programme, ABP commended the rice farmers for their unwavering belief and collaboration in the implementation of the intervention programme, adding that as the PFI (Preferred Financial Institution) for the ABP transactions, the Bank will continue to support the farmers and ensure that more smallholder farmers get the requisite financial support to boost rice production.

She said: “Our strategic partnership with RIFAN started in 2018 when we financed about 273,000 smallholder farmers. This was the largest single-ticket transaction in that year. This financing cut across 33 states of the Federation including the FCT.

“In 2019, the Bank increased the tally by financing another 146,810 smallholder farmers for the wet and dry season farming. This funding cut across 35 States of the Federation including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“Additional funding was granted to finance additional 221,450 smallholder farmers of the Association across the 32 states of the Federation including FCT for the wet season and additional 300,000 hectares was financed in sixteen states for the 2020 dry season cropping season.

“As of March 2021, the Bank has financed no fewer than 190,000 smallholder rice farmers across 35 states including the FCT, Abuja.”

Speaking further, she said: “The rice pyramids we see here today is an example of the resilience of the farmers and should be replicated in all states with a focus on the crop they have a competitive advantage.

“As we gear the programme towards deepening its penetration to reach more farmers, we encourage all beneficiaries of the Intervention Programme to always utilize the inputs judiciously in order to key into Federal Government’s goal of attaining food sufficiency, diversification of the economy from oil, job creation for the teeming youth and poverty reduction”.

“We remain optimistic that RIFAN under the able leadership of the National President, Aminu Goronyo, will continue to engage its members to drive higher performance under the ABP.”

Through the strategic initiative of the ABP, Nigeria has made incredible gains in rice production over the past six years raising production to significant levels.

Official reports show that from an average yield of 1.8 metric tonnes per hectare in the pre-ABP era, the initiative has increased the country’s average yield per hectare for rice paddy and maize to about five metric tonnes per hectare.

Similarly, the average capacity utilisation per annum of domestic integrated rice mills has jumped to 90 per cent, from the 30 per cent that was the case in the era preceding the advent of the ABP.

Statistics show that there has been a significant reduction in the country’s rice import bill, from a monstrous $1.05 billion prior to November 2015, to the current figure of $18.50 million, annually. The programme has also created an estimated 12.3 million direct and indirect jobs across the different value chains and food belts of the country.

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Consumer Loans Hit N2trn, CBN Attributes Rise to Improved Credit Appraisal by Banks

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The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN has disclosed that the volume of consumer loans has risen to two trillion naira as recorded in October, 2021.

It stated that the increase has been persistent since last year, rising by 37 percent, year-on-year, YoY. In October, 2020, the value of consumer loans recorded was N1.47 trillion.

CBN, however, attributed the increase to improved credit appraisal and the various products offered by banks and other lenders in rendering their services.

The CBN data stated that, “monthly economic report for October, 2021, showed that the growth in consumer loans was driven by a 52 per cent, YoY increase in personal loans, which rose to N1.57 trillion in October 2021. 

“Consequently, the share of personal loans in the total consumer loans basket rose to 78 per cent in October 2021 from 70.4 per cent in October 2020.”

On the month-on-month (MoM) record, consumer lending moved from N1.94 trillion in September 2021 to N2 trillion in October 2021– an increase of 3.4 per cent.

The CBN noted that the continuous growth in personal loans increased consumer credit outstanding. The personal loans are from credit appraisal and diverse products by banks. 

“Total consumer credit extended by the Other Depository Corporations (ODCs) grew by 3.4 per cent to N2,009.88 billion at the end of October 2021, from N1,942.87 billion at the end of September 2021. 

“The ratio of consumer credit to the total credit to the private sector in October 2021 was 8.7 per cent, the same share as in the preceding month. 

“A disaggregation of consumer loans revealed that personal loans maintained their dominance, accounting for 78.0 per cent, increasing by 2.3 percentage points, above the level in the preceding month, while retail loans accounted for the balance of 22.0 per cent,” the CBN data stated.

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We Are Not Affiliated With Access Capital Investment Platform, Access Bank Warns

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The management of Access Bank Plc has issued a disclaimer in respect of the Access Capital Investment Platform which has been circulating.

The bank, which dissociates itself and its subsidiaries from the investment platform noted that the online investment entity has been soliciting members of the public to invest in its Access Capital Investment products promising mouth-watering returns on investment.

“By this disclaimer, Access Bank Plc wishes to dissociate itself, affiliates, subsidiaries and/or proxies from the activities, contract, claims or business engagements of Access Capital Investment Platform”, the bank said.

The bank further stressed that “Access Capital Investment Platform is not an affiliate nor subsidiary of Access Bank Plc and it would be at the risk of anyone who invests in any of the Access Capital Investment packages/products, as Access Bank Plc would not be responsible for any loss, damages, refund whatsoever that may arise therefrom”.

According to Access bank, relevant law enforcement and regulatory agencies have been notified of this disclaimer.

Investors King reports that there are lots of fake investments platforms in Nigeria. These platforms offer unsuspecting members of the public investments return that are too good to be true.

Most times, they offer fake – but often convincing – opportunity to make a profit after they hand over a sum of money. They pretend to be representing a legitimate and trusted investment group and pressurize their victims into making a rushed decision.

Usually, these fraudsters use platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to lure people into investing in cryptocurrencies, foreign exchange and binary options and often have convincing social media profiles or websites with fake reviews. Some of them even pay people to write fake reviews for them.

Recall that Investors King had earlier reported that the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq warned the beneficiaries of the N-Power scheme not to participate in any unverified investment scheme.

She had noted, in a statement, that the ministry is aware of the current fraudulent investment scheme trending on social media and therefore, urged N-power beneficiaries not to fall victim.

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