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Naira Plunges Further; Now 372 a Dollar

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US dollar

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.”

 

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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Banking Sector

Zenith Bank is Nigeria’s Best Commercial Bank for Second Consecutive Year

Zenith Bank Plc, Nigeria’s leading financial institution, has emerged as the best commercial bank in Nigeria for a second consecutive year at the World Finance Banking Awards 2022.

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Zenith Bank Award Presentation

Zenith Bank Plc, Nigeria’s leading financial institution, has emerged as the best commercial bank in Nigeria for a second consecutive year at the World Finance Banking Awards 2022. The leading bank was also named the best corporate governance bank.

The awards were in recognition of the bank’s sound digital transformation and best-in-class sustainability and corporate governance practices that over the years have led to a stellar business performance, even in a difficult economic climate like Nigeria.

At the awards presentation at the London Stock Exchange on Monday was the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu.

Speaking on the awards, Onyeagwu said “These awards reflect our strong business fundamentals, resilience and ability to adapt to the ever-changing dynamics of the market through our innovative solutions, as well as our commitment to global best practices. As a member and signatory to various domestic and international sustainability frameworks including the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria Sustainable Banking Principles, we continue to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by creating value for our shareholders, customers, clients, investors, communities and the environment through our practices, operations and investments.”

Onyeagwu went on to dedicate the awards to Jim Ovia, CON, the Founder and Group Chairman, for his pioneering role in building the structures and laying the foundation for an enduring and very successful institution; the Board for the outstanding leadership they provide; the staff for their commitment and dedication; and the bank’s customers for making Zenith Bank their preferred financial institution.

Zenith Bank’s track record of excellent performance has continued to earn the brand numerous awards, with these latest accolades coming on the heels of several recognitions including being voted as Best Bank in Nigeria, for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards; Best in Corporate Governance ‘Financial Services’ Africa, for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, by the Ethical Boardroom; Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria and Best Innovation In Retail Banking, Nigeria in the International Banker 2022 Banking Awards; and Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020. Also, the Bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021, Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital in the “2021 Top 1000 World Banks” Ranking by The Banker Magazine and the Retail Bank of the year at the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Awards 2020 and 2021.

Similarly, Zenith Bank was honoured as Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020 and emerged winner in four categories at the Sustainability, Enterprise, and Responsibility (SERAS) Awards 2021, carting home the awards for “Best Company in Reporting and Transparency”, “Best Company in Infrastructure Development”, “Best Company in Gender Equality and Women Empowerment”, and the coveted “Most Responsible Organisation in Africa.

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Finance

Bank Account Ownership in Nigeria Increased to 45% – World Bank

The number of unbanked adults in Nigeria continues to decline as the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intensified financial inclusion efforts.

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Global Banking - Investors King

The number of unbanked adults in Nigeria continues to decline as the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intensified financial inclusion efforts.

The percentage of adults with a bank account in Nigeria rose to 45% from 30%, according to the latest World Bank report titled ‘The Global Findex Database 2021’ obtained by Investors King.

The number includes all accounts with regulated financial institutions in Nigeria.

In part, the report reads, “Individual economies saw different rates of growth over the past decade. Between 2011 and 2021, economies such as Peru, South Africa, and Uganda drove up the average with account ownership increases of 25 percentage points or more.

“Uganda, in fact, saw its rate more than triple, from 20 per cent to 66 per cent. In India, account ownership more than doubled in the past decade, from 35 per cent in 2011 to 78 per cent in 2021. This outcome stemmed in part from an Indian government policy launched in 2014 that leveraged biometric identification cards to boost account ownership among unbanked adults.

“Other economies saw much smaller increases over longer periods. Pakistan, for example, grew by just 10 percentage points over the past decade, from 10 per cent in 2011 to 21 per cent in 2021. The Arab Republic of Egypt and Nigeria increased ownership by 18 percentage points and 16 percentage points, respectively—from 10 per cent to 27 per cent in Egypt, and from 30 per cent to 45 per cent in Nigeria.”

The Washington-based bank attributed the increase in account ownership in Nigeria and other African nations to growing mobile payment adoption.

It stated, “In Sub-Saharan Africa in 2021, 55 per cent of adults had an account, including 33 per cent of adults who had a mobile money account—the largest share of any region in the world and more than three times larger than the 10 per cent global average of mobile money account ownership.

“Sub-Saharan Africa is home to all 11 economies in which a larger share of adults only had a mobile money account rather than a bank or other financial institution account. The spread of mobile money accounts has created new opportunities to better serve women, poor people, and other groups who traditionally have been excluded from the formal financial system.”

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Finance

CBN Offers Farmer N131 Billion Loan Guarantee

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through its Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF) has guaranteed loans estimated at N13.903 billion for farmers across the country.

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Food Security - Investors King

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through its Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF) has guaranteed loans estimated at N13.903 billion for farmers across the country.

The CBN disclosed this on Thursday at the national award ceremony for the 2021 Best Farmer of the Year Award organised by the ACGSF in Abuja.

According to Mr Stephen Okon, the Chairman ACGSF, “A total of 1,232,326 loans valued N130.903b were guaranteed from inception to May 2022 out of which 973,646 beneficiaries had repaid a total of N98.91b.”

In the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), ACGSF guaranteed a total of 82 loans worth N22.580 million between January to May 2022. This, according to Okon, brought the total loans guaranteed in FCT from the begining of the scheme in 1978 to May 2022 to 14,258 and at a value of N1.748 billion.

In terms of loan recovery, the Chairman said FCT farmers have repaid 11,726 loans worth N801.058 million since inception, adding that the positive result showed a high level of commitment of loan offers in FCT as well as the determination of the farmers.

“We do hope that before long, participants in the agricultural value chain in the FCT will take advantage of the opportunities provided in the Amended Act,” he said.

The ACGSF was created under in April, 1978 to de-risk agricultural loans by providing guarantees to deposit money banks offering loans to the agricultural sector.

Speaking on Thursday ceremony, Michael Onyeka Ogbu the Abuja Branch Controller, said the gathering shows CBN commitment to supporting hard work, innovation, and productivity in the agricultural value chain.

“To this end, the CBN challenges Nigerian farmers to explore our various agricultural interventions aimed at enhancing value addition to their output towards attaining food self-sufficiency, provision of raw materials to our manufacturing industries and also for export, which ultimately assists in diversifying and improving the foreign exchange earnings base of our economy,” he said.

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