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External Reserves Shed $1bn in Five Weeks

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CBN-headquarters-Investors King

The country’s external reserves have been depleted by $1bn in the last five weeks, latest statistics from the Central Bank of Nigeria have showed.

This follows the CBN’s almost daily intervention at the interbank/official foreign exchange market in recent weeks, as chronic dollar shortage continues to weigh on the economy.

In its efforts to defend the naira and prevent it from falling further at the official interbank market, the central bank has been selling dollars at the interbank market more frequently.

The naira had fallen to an all-time low of 365.25 to the dollar at the interbank market on August 18 before making a gradual recovery. On Friday, the local currency closed at 310.64 against the greenback.

At the parallel market, the naira, which has been under persistent pressure, closed at 424 to the dollar on Friday.

The external reserves fell by 2.86 per cent to $25.45bn on August 29, 2016, up from the $26.2bn it recorded at the end of July.

Year-on-year, the reserves have fallen by 18.9 per cent.

The reserves had fallen by 0.4 per cent at the end of July, down from the $26.34bn recorded on June 29.

The foreign exchange reserves stood at $26.42bn on May 28, down by 9.2 per cent year-on-year.

The CBN had on June 20 lifted its 16-month-old currency controls and auctioned about $4bn on the spot and futures market to clear a backlog of dollar demand, to help boost interbank market trading.

The global plunge in oil prices has caused the reserves to be depleting very fast. The development had forced the CBN to introduce foreign exchange controls, which were abandoned in June.

The CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee announced plans to adopt a flexible exchange rate policy after the external reserves fell to $26.56bn on May 23.

The external reserves have so far lost over $2bn this year.

The nation recorded a balance of payments deficit of 1.4 per cent in its Gross Domestic Product at the end of 2015 owing largely to its first current account deficit (three per cent of the GDP) in over a decade.

The nation’s external reserves reduced by $6.7bn within a period of 21 months, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, said on March 23.

However, the foreign exchange reserves increased by $595m to hit a one-month high of $26.196bn, the CBN data showed on Monday.

It had stood at $25.6bn as of August 24, down from $26.21bn on July 28, the CBN data showed.

The reserves declined from $26bn on August 4, 2016 to $25.97bn on August 5 as the CBN stepped up dollar sales to boost liquidity at the interbank market and support the ailing naira.

The central bank has been selling dollars regularly at the interbank market to prop up the naira since it floated it on June 20.

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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Finance

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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EFCC

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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Godwin Emefiele - Investors King

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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