- Market Loses N59bn as CBN Restricts Forex Sales
The stock market (equities) dipped by N59bn on Thursday following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s directive to Deposit Money Banks (excluding First Bank of Nigeria Limited) to restrict the sale of foreign exchange to Bureau De Change operators.
Generally, the banking sector made the biggest loss.
ETranzact Internal Plc, BOC Gases Plc, Forte Oil Plc, Pharma-Deko Plc and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc topped the losers’ chart at the close of trading on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Thursday.
The NSE market capitalisation dropped to N9.567tn from N9.626tn, while the NSE All-Share Index closed at 27,854.78 basis points from 28,027.23 basis points recorded on Wednesday.
A total of 380.754 million shares worth N1.833bn exchanged hands in 2,954 deals.
ETranzact share price plunged to N5.14 from N5.41, shedding N0.27 (4.99 per cent while the shares of BOC Gases lost N0.18 (4.86 per cent) to close at N3.52 from N3.70.
Forte Oil share price also depreciated by N7.69 (4.82 per cent) to close at N152 from N159.69, while Pharma-Deko shares recorded a loss of N0.09 (4.81 per cent) to close at N1.78 from N1.87.
GTBank shares also plunged by N1.14 (4.75 per cent) to close at N22.86 from N24.
Overall, the Nigerian equities closed lower with banking stocks leading the decline.
The financial services sector snapped a three-day positive run, down by 2.13 per cent. GTBank dropped by 4.75 per cent, Wema Bank Plc by 4.62 per cent and StanbicIBTC by 3.15 per cent.
The oil and gas sector snapped a two-day rally following market reaction to the Q3 2016 earnings of Forte Oil coupled with 0.77 per cent loss in Oando Plc.
While the industrial goods sector dipped further into the red amid continued decline in Lafarge Africa Plc (2.58 per cent loss), the consumers goods sector proved resilient as it advanced following the 2.85 per cent gain in Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, 0.82 per cent gain in Nigerian Breweries Plc and 0.78 per cent gain in Honeywell Flour Mill Plc.
Market breadth remained negative with 12 advances and 31 declines.
“We expect the NSE ASI to further drop points at week close following the pressure across board, particularly banking stocks even as the negative spread in market breadth widened,” Vetiva Capital Management Limited analysts said.
Global markets traded mostly lower after minutes from the United States Federal Reserve’s September meeting raised expectations of a December interest rate hike and as weak China trade data (exports and imports slipped by 10 per cent and two per cent respectively) weighed on investor sentiment.
CBN Extends Letter of Credit Issuance Timeline Amid Forex Crisis
Move Aims to Address FX Scarcity Challenges and Enhance Customer Service
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced an extension of the timeline for issuing letters of credit from 24 hours to five working days, according to the newly approved 2023 service charter.
This adjustment comes as the country grapples with foreign exchange scarcity, impacting local and international trade.
The 2020 service charter initially stipulated a 24-hour timeline for the issuance and management of letters of credit, but the updated charter now reflects a timeline extension to five working days.
Also, the CBN has prolonged the timeline for the registration of Form M and NXP from 24 hours to two working days.
The move follows the CBN’s unification of all forex market segments in June 2023, aimed at promoting liquidity and stability.
However, this measure appears to have led to increased market instability, with the naira losing nearly a fifth of its value.
Reports indicate that foreign suppliers are now rejecting letters of credit from Nigerian businesses, affecting the importation of goods and services.
Letters of credit are crucial for the payment of visible goods imports, wherein a bank commits in writing to pay the exporter a specified sum within a defined timeframe upon receipt of proper documentation from the customer.
The extended timelines for letters of credit, Forms M, and NXP in the service charter are seen as measures to manage cash flow and instill confidence in the process amidst the ongoing forex crisis.
CBN Governor Yemi Cardoso stressed the commitment to responsive and citizen-friendly governance through efficient, responsible, and transparent service delivery in the revised service charter.
The move is part of the CBN’s effort to comply with the Business Facilitation Act 2022 and enhance ease of doing business in Nigeria.
Unity Bank MD Advocates Policy Actions to Stem Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria
The Managing Director of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs. Tomi Somefun has called for comprehensive policy actions that will dismantle the structures that enable gender-based violence in Nigeria.
At the Ebony Life Cinema, the venue of the film screening in Lagos, Unity Bank supported the BECKMA movie premiere by ARDA Development Commuications Inc. which was held to highlight issues of Gender-Based violence and driving positive change in society.
Making the call, Somefun stated that the Bank committed to partnering with the movie premiere and putting the power of the brand behind BECKMA as the event brings sustainability and gender equality to the front burner.
Represented by Unity Bank’s Group Head of Compliance, Mrs. Patricia Ahunanya, Somefun noted that “9 percent of women aged 15 to 49 had suffered sexual assault at least once in their lifetime and 31% had experienced physical violence,” citing a recent study by UNDP in Nigeria.
Speaking further, Somefun said “Gender-based violence is not just a women’s issue, but a societal ill that demands our collective attention. It is high time for us to step forward and advocate for comprehensive policy actions that will dismantle the structures allowing such atrocities to persist”.
She added, “I urge policymakers to enact stringent laws against gender-based violence, ensuring swift and severe consequences for perpetrators. Our homes and various organisations must also be a catalyst for change, inspiring others to follow suit.”
While commending the ARDA Development Communications Inc. for their initiatives to promote gender equality and empowerment in line with SDG5, Somefun assured of the Bank’s commitment to sustainable initiatives and further collaborative initiatives and advocacy programmes for the elimination of gender-based violence.
Nigeria’s NIBSS Directs Banks to Disconnect Non-Deposit Financial Institutions from NIP System
Banks in Nigeria have received a directive from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) to disconnect Switches, Payment Solution Service Providers (PSSPs), and Super Agents from the NIBSS Instant Payment Outwards System.
The circular, dated December 5, 2023, highlighted that including these non-deposit-taking financial institutions as beneficiaries on the NIP funds transfer channels violates the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) guideline on electronic payments.
The NIBSS emphasized that while Switches, PSSPs, and Super Agents might process outward transfers as inflows to banks, their licenses do not permit them to hold customers’ funds.
The circular referred to the CBN’s guidelines on electronic payment of salaries, pensions, suppliers, and taxes, dated February 2014, as the basis for this regulatory stance.
The directive also pointed to a circular dated May 11, 2018, titled “Permissible Services and Products of PSSP Operation in Nigeria,” reinforcing the need for compliance.
As a result, banks were urged to delist all Switches, PSSPs, and Super Agents from the NIP Outward Transfer channels while allowing their participation in inward transfers.
In Nigeria’s payment ecosystem, operators are required to obtain licenses such as Switching and Processing, Mobile Money Operations, Payment Solution Services, or Regulatory Sandbox from the CBN.
Only Mobile Money Operators (MMOs) have the authority to hold customer funds, according to the CBN’s regulatory framework.
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