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Naira Hits 418/dollar as Forex Scarcity Lingers

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The naira plunged to 418 against the dollar at the parallel market on Tuesday as scarcity of foreign exchange continued to weigh on the official interbank and black market.

The local currency, which closed at 414 against the greenback on Monday, traded at 415 in Lagos, 417 in Abuja and 418 in Kano, foreign exchange dealers said.

Foreign exchange analysts believe the lingering scarcity of forex has been exacerbated by the banning of eight commercial banks from the forex market by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The CBN last week Tuesday banned nine lenders from forex transactions for failing to remit the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s $2.334bn into the Treasury Single Account.

The United Bank for Africa Plc, one of the nine lenders, was later re-admitted after it remitted its share of the funds to the TSA.

A day after the CBN banned the nine banks from the forex market, the local currency depreciated to 402/dollar, down from 397 it closed against the greenback on Tuesday.

The local currency has continued to depreciate gradually. Forex dealers maintained that the demand pressure on the dollar, mounted by summer travellers and parents paying schools fees of their children studying overseas ahead of resumption in September, was exacerbated by the CBN’s forex ban on the nine lenders.

The naira, which hit a fresh record low since the CBN floated the currency on the official interbank market in June, first touched 400/dollar at the black market this month.

Meanwhile, the CBN sold around $1.5m at the interbank forex market on Tuesday to support the local currency and ensure the closing rate stabilised, Reuters reported, quoting currency traders.

The naira closed at 305.50 to the dollar on the interbank market, same level it had traded since last week, having touched 325.50 a dollar intraday, but gained after the CBN’s intervention.

Traders said the naira had consistently closed around 305.5 to the dollar since August 22, an indication that the CBN was concerned about a particular price range for the local currency.

On Monday, the forex market registered $327m worth of trades, about six times more than its usual volume.

This included a single $270m transaction at 345 naira per dollar, by foreign investors buying local currency bonds.

Average trading is around $50m a day on normal days; it may reach $100m on days the CBN intervenes in the currency market.

According to traders, dollar shortage remains a major concern in the market even with the daily intervention by the central bank and a pocket of flows from offshore investors.

The naira traded at a fresh record low of 418 to the dollar on the black market, against 414 a dollar on Monday, traders said.

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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Faceoff as Humanitarian Minister Writes Finance Minister on N206bn Budget Padding

N206 billion inserted into the ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development

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Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq has written to the Minister of Finance seeking clarification on the N206 billion inserted into the ministry 2023 budget. 

It would be recalled that some ministries and government agencies alleged the insertion of some projects amounting to N423.8bn in their respective budget proposals without their knowledge. 

Some of the concerned MDAs include the National Universities Commission (NUC), Ministries of Defence, Power, and Humanitarian Affairs. Investors King learnt. 

Representatives of the MDAs had told the National Assembly that they can not explain what the sums are meant for or the details of the projects tied to the funds since they were not part of their proposals sent to the finance ministry for the 2023 fiscal year.

According to the Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (retd), about N11 billion was inserted into the ministry’s budget. He told a Senate Committee during budget defence sessions. 

Similarly, the Minister of Health also alleged the same thing accusing officials of the Ministry of Finance of padding. 

The Executive Secretary of NUC, Professor Abubakar Rashid, also told the joint Senate and House Committee on Tertiary Education and TETfund during budget defence that N12 billion was inserted by the Ministry of Finance into the agency budget. 

“In NUC’s budget, we have a problem. We had additional money given to us that we didn’t request, but I later went to the Ministry of Finance to find out because our budget was always hovering around N3 billion” he said. 

Sources from the ministry of humanitarian affairs disclosed that the letter written by the minister seeking clarification is necessary owing to the negative public perception it could give the ministry and the minister in particular. 

The sources added that the minister’s husband who is a governorship candidate in Bauchi state might also be affected by the negative media perception. 

“We are disturbed and the minister is not leaving anything to chance. We want a quick clarification of the inserted figure in our ministry’s 2023 budget proposal,” the source said. 

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EFCC, ICPC to Track Large Withdrawals as CBN Launches New Notes

Godwin Emefiele has said the central bank will engage the service of both EFCC and ICPC to monitor large withdrawals from banks. 

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Indications have emerged that both the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) will collaborate with commercial banks to track large withdrawals as the CBN launches new naira notes. 

Investors King reported yesterday that President Muhammadu Buhari has unveiled the new naira notes ahead of their circulation. 

While briefing the press after the launch, the central bank governor, Godwin Emefiele noted that the apex bank will engage the service of both EFCC and ICPC to monitor large withdrawals from banks. 

Emefiele disclosed that the amount of money that can be withdrawn from the counter would be reduced drastically. 

He added that bulk withdrawals would require several procedures and security checks to track use.

“We will restrict the volume of cash that people can withdraw over the counter. If you need to draw large volumes of cash, you will fill out uncountable forms; we will take your data, whether it’s your BVN or NIN so that our law enforcement agencies like EFCC and ICPC can follow you and be sure that you are taking that money for a good purpose,” he said. 

The CBN governor however refuted that the policy is aimed at anyone. There has been speculation that the currency redesign was targeted at some politicians especially those in the opposition. 

“There is no need for anybody to think this program is targeted at anyone. Like you heard the President, he said, this discussion to redesign and reissue currency started early in the year,” he stated. 

It could be recalled that the central bank announced its intention to redesign N200, N500, and N1000 in October 2022. 

While making the announcement, the CBN governor noted that the policy is aimed to address the excesses of currency circulation, counterfeiting and terrorism. 

Emefiele said there was significant hoarding of naira notes by members of the public, with statistics showing that over 80 percent of the currency in circulation was outside the vaults of the commercial banks.

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CBN Disburses N41.02 Billion to 4.6 Million Smallholder Farmers in October

The central bank disbursed N41.02 billion to several smallholder farmers under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP)

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it disbursed N41.02 billion to several smallholder farmers under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) across the country in the month of October.

This was stated in the bank’s communique no. 145 of the monetary policy committee minute published on Tuesday.

The apex bank has now disbursed a combined N1.067 trillion to 4.6 million smallholder farmers cultivating 21 commodities across the country.

In the same month, the central bank also provided a N0.30 million grant to large-scale agricultural projects under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS). Consequently, the total disbursement under the Scheme for agro-production and agro-processing stands at N745.31 billion for 680 projects.

Explaining the significance of the disbursement to the bank’s ongoing policy, the apex bank said it would help boost the non-oil export sector and deepen the nation’s foreign reserves.

In addition, the bank released the sum of N48.30 billion under the N1.0 trillion Real Sector Facility to seven (7) new real sector projects in agriculture, manufacturing, and services. Cumulative disbursement under this Facility currently stands at N2.15 trillion to 437 projects across the country, comprising projects in manufacturing (240), agriculture (91), services (93) and mining sector (13).

Furthermore, under the 100 for 100 Policy on Production and Productivity (PPP), the bank disbursed the sum of N20.78 billion to nine (9) projects in healthcare, manufacturing, and services.

The cumulative disbursement under the Facility, therefore, amounted to N114.17 billion in 71 projects. Moreover, the Bank disbursed N4.00 billion under the Intervention Facility for the National Gas Expansion Programme (IFNGEP) to promote the adoption of compressed natural gas (CNG) for transportation and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for cooking.

Meanwhile, the CBN-led monetary policy committee raised the interest rate by another 100 basis points from 15.5% to 16.5%. Therefore, the apex bank has risen interest rates by 500 basis points in 2022 alone.

 

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