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Naira Hits Record Low of 414 a Dollar

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ATM Withdrawal - Investors king

The Nigerian Naira plunged to a record low against the US dollar on Sunday at the parallel market.

The local currency was sold for 414 per dollar in Lagos and Abuja on Sunday.

Currency experts have said even though the CBN continued to intervene by selling dollars daily on the interbank market, its efforts were inadequate and considered weak.

“There is nothing in the policy environment that will arrest the decline unless the central bank has increased capacity to supply the market, which unfortunately it doesn’t have. So, we should expect the naira to remain under pressure in the coming week,” said Mr. Johnson Chukwu, the Chief Executive Officer, Cowry Asset Management Limited.

This is a liquidity issue, at this point, the Federal Government or CBN needs access to credit support either from a trading partner like China or the World Bank to stabilise the Naira.

“The decline of the naira against the dollar is beyond the recent suspension of some banks from the forex market. We have witnessed suspension of banks in the past, and it did not lead to any spike in exchange rate. The major challenge we have now is supply shortage. If that improves, naira will stabilise,” Chukwu added.

It should be recalled that some currency analysts interviewed by Bloomberg last week forecast 515 a dollar by the first half of 2017, and insisted the CBN needs to be more result oriented.

A currency analyst at Ecobank, Mr. Kunle Ezun, said “A lot of people in the official market will want to actually maximise the gains on their dollar holding by channelling it through the parallel market.”

“Sincerely, there is no major thing that one can expect in the parallel market. The only thing that could bring calm to the market is the supply of the US dollar. What we have in the market is basically demand and supply interplay,” Ezun added.

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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Banking Sector

Parallex Bank Debuts As Newest Commercial Bank In Nigeria

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Parallex Bank

Parallex Bank, a licenced Microfinance Bank, has successfully transited to a commercial bank after 14 years of operations.

According to the bank’s chairman, Dr. Adeola Phillips, the bank is delving into the commercial banking space, to drive consumer-centric innovation that will propel the banking industry to greater heights.

The bank’s Managing Director, Mr. Olufemi Bakre, who spoke during the launch of the bank’s commercial operations, affirmed that the bank’s promise to its customers is to be an enabler of limitless banking. According to him, the vision of the bank is to be the preferred financial solution provider redefining customer experience through innovation.

The bank revealed its plan to disrupt the market and delight customers with very attractive offers. It noted that most transactions on Parallex mobile app are free but beyond that, customers will have the freedom to do much more with the app.

Parallex bank converted from Parallex Microfinance Bank (a National Microfinance Bank incorporated in 2008 as a Unit MFB) to a commercial bank duly licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria to carry out commercial banking services. This is a first-of-its-kind achievement in the Nigerian banking space.

The bank noted that it is “poised to be the preferred financial solutions provider redefining customer experience through digital innovations.

“This we will achieve by leveraging the best talents and technology to deliver unparalleled value to our stakeholders. With a strong ecosystem anchored around the customer, we offer a superior product portfolio that is customer-focused and innovative, yet simple”.

With a vision to leverage the best talent and technology to deliver unparalleled value to all its stakeholders, the bank noted that it is open to working with various stake holders to amplify its impact and capability.

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Banking Sector

FirstBank Rewards Customers in Transact and Win Promo

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First Bank Of Nigeria

Getting rewarded for spending money is a dream that is probably going to remain exciting for many people, but not for the Firstmonie Wallet users. In a two month Transact and Win campaign that started on November 22, 2021, First Bank of Nigeria Limited is rewarding several customers for carrying out transactions on its Firstmonie Wallet application. 

The e-wallet is useful for conveniently paying utility bills, purchasing airtime and data, transferring and receiving money, and many other digital transactions. Just for using the mobile-friendly wallet app, Customers got rewarded with mouth-watering prizes both in cash and kind. The number of transactions done on the app determines the price a user could win.

100 customers who had done 1-15 transactions through Firstmonie Wallet within the month won N10,000 cash price; 53 25kg bags of rice and 50 units of standing fans were also won by customers who carried out 16 – 30 transactions with the Firstmonie Wallet; 2 units of power generating sets, 1 unit of Air Conditioning systems and 1 unit LED Televisions went to customers who carried 31 – 50 transactions; while 2 units of iPhone 12 were won by customers who had carried out over 50 transactions on the app within the month.

Victor Nnanna Onyedikachi, a student of the University of Abuja was one of the winners of the iPhone 12, and while receiving his gift, he admitted that he did not expect to win the prize.  “I used the Firstmonie Wallet App, and just like that, I was told that I had qualified. I did not believe it until I saw it myself. I am truly grateful to FirstBank” he said.

Other winners also expressed their pleasure at being rewarded for using a completely user-friendly app. “There is no issue of service error when using it for any transaction. The service is seamless and the app is easy to use” one of them said.

The Group Executive, e-Business & Retail products, Mr Chuma Ezirim had noted that the promo was targeted at appreciating customers for their patronage; and in line with the Bank’s December-is-a-Vybe campaign. “This promo is hinged on the need to appreciate our customers for their patronage, especially as we have had an increased engagement and usages of the various services offered by our mobile-friendly wallet product,” Ezirim said when the promo was being launched.

Interestingly, the promo also includes new customers and users of the app. By simply downloading the mobile app from the play store, or using the *894# USSD string to sign up, anyone can qualify for the promo. The promo runs till January 22, 2022, so what are you waiting for as you could be the next winner of any of these fantastic prizes.

As the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 127 years, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has remained at the forefront of promoting digital payment in the country, and the Firstmonie Wallet is one of the channels for digital transactions.

Little wonder FirstBank was named “Most Valuable Bank Brand in Nigeria” six times in a row (2011 – 2016) by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” and “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” for seven consecutive years (2011 – 2017) by the Asian Banker International.  FirstBank also bagged the Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global Finance for 15 years.

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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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