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CBN Borrows N213bn via Treasury bills

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The Central Bank of Nigeria borrowed N212.85bn ($654.92m) in an auction of Treasury bills on Wednesday, with yields little changed from previous sales, data from the Debt Management Office showed on Thursday.

The debt office raised N45.85bn of three-month paper at 14.38 per cent, down from 14.99 per cent in mid-August; N62bn of six-month bills at 17.50 per cent, up from 17.48 per cent, and N105bn of one-year paper at 18.42 per cent, down from 18.50 per cent.

Higher subscriptions on the one-year sale suggested some offshore investors participated, market players said.

On Monday, offshore investors traded about $270m through the interbank forex market to fund investments in naira debt.

Sovereign dollar bonds fell across the curve to their lowest level in more than two weeks on Wednesday after official data showed the economy contracted by 2.06 per cent in the second quarter, Reuters reported.

The 2023 issue chalked up the biggest losses, down 0.728 cents to trade at 99.417 cents in the dollar – its lowest since August 15, according to Tradeweb data.

The 2021 bond slipped by 0.489 cents to 102.156 cents while the 2018 issue lost 0.603 cents to trade at 101.167 cents.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed the non-oil sector declined due to a weaker currency while lower oil prices dragged the oil sector down.

The lingering scarcity of foreign exchange had pushed the naira to an all-time-low of 420 against the United States dollar at the parallel market on Wednesday.

This followed data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday, confirming that the economy was in recession.

The NBS data showed that the Gross Domestic Product shrank by 2.06 in the second quarter, after contracting by 0.36 in the first quarter.

Before dropping to 420/dollar on Wednesday, the local currency had traded at 418 in Kano, 417 in Abuja and 415 in Lagos on Tuesday. It closed at 414 against the greenback on Monday.

But Bureaux de Change operators raised hope of a gradual appreciation of the local currency in the near term as the CBN licensed 11 new International Money Transfer Operators to address the dollar supply side.

“Depending on the effective implementation of the central bank’s policy, the appointment of new international money transfer operators will ensure that banks will have more dollar to sell to bureaux de change and provide the needed liquidity in the market,” the President, National Association of Bureaux de Change Operators of Nigeria, Aminu Gwadabe, told Reuters on Wednesday.

Gwadabe said the CBN’s directive that commercial banks should sell dollar inflow through money transfer operators to the BDCs had boosted daily dollar supply to the currencies agencies to around $10m to $20m and this could further boost supply and help support the naira.

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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Finance

Finance Minister Accused Budget Office of Padding

The budget office added N206 billion to the budget of Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and the Nigerian and the National University of Commission (NUC)

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Zainab Ahmed Finance Minister

The Budget Office of the Federation (BOF) has been alleged of being behind the recent budget padding totalling about N206 billion.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed disclosed in a statement issued by the ministry.

Investors King had earlier reported that some ministries and government agencies including the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and the Nigerian and the National University of Commission (NUC) had raised alarm about padding in their respective budget proposal. 

Reacting to the development, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management wrote a letter to the Ministry of Finance, seeking clarification. 

Therefore, when appeared before the House Committee on Appropriations, the Minister of Finance noted that the error emanated from the Budget Office of the Federation. 

According to the statement released by the Ministry of Finance, the Minister told the legislators that “there was an error in the budget of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs as the N206 billion captured in the budget proposal of the ministry was wrongly coded by the Budget Office”.

She added that “the N206 billion alleged insertion, which had generated serious reaction within the week, was for the national social safety nets project funded by the World Bank and domiciled in the Humanitarian Ministry,” the statement read.

Zainab further clarified that the figure in question was not a deliberate act of budget passing but an oversight. 

“The wrong coding resulted in the item being wrongly captured as ‘purchase of security equipment but that it had nothing to do with Budget padding, but an oversight,” she said. 

Meanwhile, the House of Committee has berated the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs for her failure to appear before various committees of the House to defend the ministry’s 2023 budget proposal.

The committee thereafter advised her to resign if she was not capable to do her job. 

“Most times the committee calls the minister, she refuses to come. If she is not ready for the job, she should quit,” the committee chairman stated. 

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No Plan to Print N5000 Note; Says CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has denied plans to print N5,000 denominations

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Godwin Emefiele

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has denied plans to print N5,000 denominations, the clarification was made by the Director of Currency Operations, Ahmed Umar during an event in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. 

Umar, who was represented by Amina Halidu-Giwa, Head of Policy Development at CBN Currency Operations Department was quoted to have said “We are not introducing any new note. Some people have seen one N5000 note that we don’t know about”. 

Investors King learnt that various mock-up designs of N5000 notes have surfaced on the internet amid the anticipation of the CBN naira redesign policy. 

It could be recalled that the apex bank had introduced newly redesigned notes which the bank claimed will help to address currency circulation, counterfeiting, and terrorism. The affected denominations include N200, N500, and N1000 notes. 

Speaking on the development, Umaru noted that the central bank will be printing a significantly limited amount of the redesigned currency to promote cashless policy. 

“What we are printing is going to be very limited because we want other means of settling transactions to be used,” he noted. 

It is understood that the apex bank has often encouraged Nigerians to embrace cashless policy as a way of promoting financial inclusion and to prevent currency mutilation. 

In this direction, the CBN also launched the e-Naira, a form of digital naira which has the value as the naira notes. 

Meanwhile, Cable news has also reported that the viral video of the N5000 denomination is fake. 

Cable news stated that the video has been on Facebook and Youtube since 2020. 

While acknowledging the video in 2020, the CBN also released a statement to dispel the unfounded rumor. 

A statement which was released by the apex bank in May 2020 partly read, “Videos and pictures of purported circulation of N2,000:00 and N5,000:00 banknotes are false and fake”.

“Members of the public are advised to disregard such falsehood and to report anyone found in possession of such banknotes to the law enforcement agencies”. 

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Private Jet Owners Refused to Pay N30bn Tax; Drags FG to Court

These jet owners, including business moguls and leading commercial banks, have dragged the federal government to court to seek judicial review to ascertain if they are liable by law to pay the import duty imposed on them. 

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A number of wealthy Nigerians who own private jets have refused to pay more than N30 billion in import duty tax, the Nigeria Customs Service.

The owners, including business moguls and leading commercial banks, have dragged the federal government to court to seek judicial review to ascertain if they are liable by law to pay the import duty imposed on them. 

Investors King could recall that the Federal Government had approved the decision of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to ground 91 private jets belonging to some wealthy Nigerians over their alleged refusal to pay import duties running to over N30 billion.

The Nigeria Customs Service claimed that the owners are liable to import duties since the private jets are foreign-registered. 

Subsequently, acting upon the presidential approval, the Customs Service directed the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), to ground the affected private jets with immediate effect.

Meanwhile, owners of the private jets have filed a court case to stop the import duty imposed on them by NCS. 

The owners who have approached the Federal High Court in Abuja are seeking the court to determine, among other things, if they were liable to pay import duty.

Investors King learnt that the owners filed their cases using their trustee companies to hide their identities. 

Some of these trustee companies most of which are foreign firms include, Aircraft Trust and Financing Corp Trustee, UAML Corp, Bank of Utah Trustee, Masterjet AVIACAO Executive SA, Empire Aviation Group, and Osa Aviation Limited and Cloud Services Limited.

According to the court document, at least 17 applicants have filed cases against the import duty. 

On the respondent list, include the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). 

While speaking on the development, the President, Association of Private Aircraft Owners, Mr. Alex Nwuba noted that the government needs to show a higher degree of transparency in the process of registering private jets.

He concluded that while the government is aiming to generate revenue from all means possible, the import duty imposed on the private jet owners might be too much.

“If you buy a private jet for $80m, you may need to pay a duty of over $10m; that may be high to some people,” he said. 

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