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CBN Moves Against Illegal International Fund Transfer

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CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria on Friday said it observed that some banks are operating accounts either as companies or companies masking themselves as individuals for the purpose of illegally receiving money transfer flows into those accounts for onward disbursements to recipients in Nigeria.

This came on the day the naira sustained its downswing on the parallel market as it fell to a record low of N412 to the dollar, as against the N408 to the dollar it closed the previous day.

To curb this international fund transfer, the CBN in a circular titled: “Illegal International Money Remittances Through the Banking System,” dated August 25, 2016, and signed by its Acting Director, Trade and Exchange Department, Mr. W.D. Gotring, directed banks to identify and freeze such accounts receiving illicit flows with immediate effects.

The banks were also directed to submit the mandate and account details of these accounts held in naira or foreign currency to it for onward reporting to the security agencies.

“The CBN therefore reiterates that deposit money banks have the absolute responsibility to conduct Know Your Customers’ Business (KYCB) checks on all their customers to ensure that they do not transact in illegal/illicit flows,” it added.

Meanwhile, experts have expressed concern that the falling value of the naira coupled with a high inflation rate of 16.5 per cent is making the nation’s currency to lose its function as a store of value.

But on the interbank forex market, the spot rate of the naira rose marginally to N314.95 to the dollar yesterday, higher than the N316.84 to the dollar it closed the previous day.

The strong depreciation of the naira on the parallel forex market was majorly attributed to the strong demand for the greenback by customers of the eight banks that were banned from foreign exchange transactions.
It was gathered that a lot of them now patronise the parallel market for dollar purchases to meet their pressing obligations as they await the resolution of the matter between their financial institutions and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The CBN on Tuesday barred nine banks from participating in the forex market for not remitting a total of $2.334 billion Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)/Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Company dollar deposits to the federal government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA).

The affected banks were: the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Ltd, Diamond Bank Plc, Sterling Bank Plc, Skye Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, Keystone Bank, First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Ltd and Heritage Bank Limited.

But UBA was re-admitted into the forex market by the CBN on Thursday having complied with its directive.

Speaking in a telephone interview with THISDAY yesterday, the Chief Executive Officer of Graeme Blaque Group, Zeal Akaraiwe faulted the restriction of the banks from participating in the forex market, saying the action by the central bank sent a wrong signal to investors.

“There CBN ought to have imposed other punishment. We are having serious forex problem in this country, clients cannot find forex and you are banning banks from the forex market. What I see is that we are trying to sabotage ourselves.

“This would certainly affect investor confidence, especially the foreign investors which we have been pursuing. The financial market works on a lot of confidence and destroying the confidence does not help anybody.”

Akaraiwe expressed concern that the nation’s currency has lost its quality as a store of value, saying a lot of people may be forced to dump the currency for other stronger currencies.

“Of course, it is going to increase the pressure in the forex market. And we cannot do anything about the dollar because we do not have natural control over dollar cash flow. One of the things we are suffering is cash flow problem. That is, we have dollar assets on the ground as oil, we have dollar assets sitting in oil companies, but we don’t have dollar cash and we are not doing anything to fix the problem.

“I keep emphasising that in the financial market, confidence is very important and you must do all to retain that confidence, but not by banning banks from the forex market,” Akaraiwe added.

Also, the chief executive officer of an investment bank who pleaded to remain anonymous expressed concern over the loss of value of the naira.

He urged both the fiscal and monetary authorities to fake urgent steps to correct the structural imbalances in the economy, saying the country’s economic managers must not fold their arms and watch the country go the way of Zimbabwe whose currency has been battered.

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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Energy

Africa Renewable Energy Fund II Secures €125 Million First Close With SEFA and CTF Investments

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Solar energy - Investors King

The Africa Renewable Energy Fund II has achieved its first close at €125 million, following a joint investment of €17.5 million from The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa and the Climate Technology Fund through the African Development Bank.

AREF II, a successor to the original Fund, is a 10-year closed-ended renewable energy Private Equity Fund with a $300 million target capitalization. The Africa Renewable Energy Fund II, managed by Berkeley Energy, invests in early-stage renewable energy projects, thereby not only de-risking the most uncertain phase of power projects, but also promoting increased green baseload in Africa’s generation mix.

The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa and the Climate Technology Fund will each contribute roughly €8.7 million to mobilize private-sector investment into Africa’s renewable energy sector. The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa will also contribute financing to the AREF II Project Support Facility, which funds technical assistance and early-stage project support to improve bankability.

Other investors include the U.K’s CDC Group, Italy’s CDP, the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO) and SwedFund.

“We are proud to be associated with Berkeley Energy and other like-minded investors, and look forward to AREF’s continued success and leadership in promoting sustainable power development on the continent,” said Dr. Kevin Kariuki, the African Development Bank’s Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth.

In 2012, the African Development Bank selected Berkeley Energy, a seasoned fund manager of clean energy projects in global emerging markets to set up AREF. AREF II has a sharper strategic focus than its predecessor on “green baseload” projects that will deliver firm and dispatchable power to African power systems through hydro, solar, wind and battery storage technologies.

Luka Buljan, Berkeley Energy’s Managing Director, said: “We are very excited to have reached this milestone with strong support from our backers. The catalytic tranche from the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa and the Climate Technology Fund will assist in mobilising private institutional investors up to full fund size of €300 million. We now look forward to concluding the fundraising and delivering projects that will provide clean, reliable and affordable energy across African markets.”

“AREF is intertwined with the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa’s history and success, and we have worked closely over the last decade to create precedents in difficult markets and challenging technologies. We look forward to continued collaboration to accelerate the energy transition in Africa,” said Joao Duarte Cunha, Manager for Renewable Energy Initiatives at the African Development Bank and Coordinator of the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa.

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Crude Oil

FG Earned $34.22B From Crude Oil and Gas in 2019 – NEITI

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Crude oil - Investors King

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) on Thursday released its 2019 oil and gas industry audit report, which shows that Nigeria earned N34.22 billion from the oil and gas industry in 2019.

The audit, conducted by Adeshile Adedeji & Co. (Chartered Accountants), an indigenous accounting and auditing firm, reconciled payments from 98 entities. They include 88 oil and gas companies, nine government agencies and the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG).

The 2019 figure is an increase of 4.88 percent over the $32.63billion revenue realised from the sector in 2018. A breakdown of the earnings showed that payments by companies accounted for $18.90billion, while flows from federation sales of crude oil and gas accounted for $15.32billion.

The report further showed that 10 years (2010-2019) aggregate financial flows from the oil and gas sector to government amounted to $418.544billion, with the highest revenue flow of $68.442 recorded in 2011, while the lowest revenue flow of $17.055 was recorded in 2016.

According to NEITI, the total crude oil production in 2019 was 735.244mmbbls, representing an increase of 4.87 percent over the 701.101mmbbls recorded in 2018. Production sharing contracts (PSCs) contributed the highest volumes of 312.042mmbbls followed by Joint Venture (JV) and Sole Risk (SR) which recorded 310,284mmbbls and 89.824mmbbls respectively. Others are Marginal Fields (MFs) and Service Contracts (SCs) which accounted for 21,762mmbbls and 1,330mmbbls respectively.

The report also showed that total crude oil lifted in 2019 was 735.661mmbbls, indicating a 4.93 percent increase to the 701.090 mmbbls recorded in 2018, with companies lifting 469.010mmbbls, while 266.650mmbbls was lifted by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on behalf of the federation.

Analysis of crude oil lifted by NNPC showed that 159.411mmbbls was for export, while 107.239mmbbls was for domestic refining. 97 percent of the volumes for domestic refining (104.475mmbbls) was utilised for the Direct Sale Direct Purchase (DSDP) programme while the remaining 3 percent (2.764mmbbls) was delivered to the refineries.

NEITI reported that the value of the 2019 domestic crude oil earnings was N2.722 trillion. Of this figure, N518.074billion was deducted for Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) under-recovery by the NNPC.

This figure was N213.074billon above the approved sum of N305billion for under-recovery in 2019. Similarly, the sum of N126.664billion was incurred by the Corporation as costs for pipeline repairs and maintenances which showed a difference of N96.378billion from the approved sum of N30.287billion for that purpose.

The report also pointed out that N31.844billion was also deducted for crude and product losses due to theft.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Drop on Stronger U.S Dollar

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Crude oil - Investors King

The strong U.S Dollar pressured global crude oil prices on Thursday despite the big drop in U.S crude oil inventories.

The Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, dropped by 74 cents or 1 percent to settle at $73.65 a barrel at 4.03 am Nigerian time on Thursday.

The U.S West Texas Intermediate crude oil depreciated by 69 cents or 1 percent to $71.46 a barrel after reaching its highest since October 2018 on Wednesday.

Energy markets became so fixated over a robust summer travel season and Iran nuclear deal talks that they somewhat got blindsided by the Fed’s hawkish surprise,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.

The Fed was expected to be on hold and punt this meeting, but they sent a clear message they are ready to start talking about tapering and that means the dollar is ripe for a rebound which should be a headwind for all commodities.

The U.S. dollar boasted its strongest single day gain in 15 months after the Federal Reserve signaled it might raise interest rates at a much faster pace than assumed.

A firmer greenback makes oil priced in dollars more expensive in other currencies, potentially weighing on demand.

Still, oil price losses were limited as data from the Energy Information Administration showed that U.S. crude oil stockpiles dropped sharply last week as refineries boosted operations to their highest since January 2020, signaling continued improvement in demand.

Also boosting prices, refinery throughput in China, the world’s second largest oil consumer, rose 4.4% in May from the same month a year ago to a record high.

This pullback in oil prices should be temporary as the fundamentals on both the supply and demand side should easily be able to compensate for a rebounding dollar,” Moya said.

 

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