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Bitcoin: NDIC, CBN Set Study Committee

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Bitcoin
  • Bitcoin: NDIC, CBN Set Study Committee

Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, the Managing Director, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Commission (NDIC), on Friday said the commission and CBN had set up a committee to look into the trending “digital currency, ‘bitcoin’.

Ibrahim said this at the ongoing 2016 Workshop for Financial Correspondents in Kaduna.

The theme of the workshop is ” Economic Recession and the Nigerians Banking Sector: Opportunities,Challenges and the way Forward”.

“On our part, we have constituted a committee together with the central bank to have an in debt study of this phenomenal bitcoin.

“We will look at it’s advantages and disadvantages, what it means for the payment system and what it means for safety and security of customers.

“We will also look at what it means for money laundering, anti curruption, crime and measurement of money /near money instrument for the economy.

“But we need a lot of education to do this and I’m calling on you (media) to educate yourselves about all of this so you can educate the public,” he said.

Ibrahim said ‘bitcoin’ included what is being called block chain technology based products in the market.

He said that a lot of Nigerians had already started patronising bitcoin, stressing that ‘it had started to creep in and nobody could stop it.

He said that in Europe and the United States, it had gained currency and some of the leading banks in Europe had also adopted their own versions of bitcoins.

“Some of the central banks have also adopted it and are seriously doing everything possible to bring in the emergence of this invisible products.

“The owners do not need any central bank; they do not need any physical bank.

“If you are a subscriber, you only know yourselves and they give you a bit of the bitcoin and in some countries you can convert it to cash.

“You can make payments with it because it has been recognised and one of the famous ex-chief executive of Barclays PLC, Antony Jenkins, have joined the groups board of directors,”Ibrahim said.

He explained that the financial service industry is not spared in all of this.

On the issue of “MMM”, he said it had been pronounced that it was not recognised and was illegal.

“It is a very serious matter and all hands must be on deck to educate the public against things like this.

On the current problems regarding the emergence of wonder banks, Ibrahim said NDIC would not relent in calling on Nigerians, educating and sensitising Nigerians on the dangers of patronising wonder banks.

He urged the media to help and continue to educate the public not to in anyway patronise institutions that were not licenced by the Central Bank or insured by the NDIC.

On financial inclusion, he said although the success recorded was not much but there had been improvement in the area of financial inclusion in the country.

“The successes recorded is not much, but it is a good start given the prevailing number if Nigerians excluded financially,

“I think if you check the statistics that has been rolled out you will appreciate that we have recorded tremendous successes in the last three years.

“This is since the introduction of cashless policy and mobile banking to the extent that more Nigerians are getting involved.

“But we have a very long way to go and it is your responsibility, as journalists, to continue to help educate Nigerians on the advantages of not keeping their money under their pillows and matrasses or in some cases in soak aways and ceilings.

“We know that people fear electronic fraud, but I can assure you that CBN and the banking community are doing everything possible to block all loop holes associated with mobile banking.

“And the advantages far out ways the disadvantages,” he said.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Energy

Massive Fuel Station Closures in North-East Nigeria Over Anti-Smuggling Clampdown

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In a significant protest against an anti-smuggling operation, nearly 2,000 petrol stations in Nigeria’s North-East have shut down, causing widespread fuel shortages and forcing motorists to turn to the black market.

The closures began yesterday following a crackdown by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), which targeted petrol outlets suspected of smuggling fuel to neighboring countries.

Dahiru Buba, Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN) for Adamawa and Taraba states, revealed that the closures were a direct response to the NCS impounding tanker trucks and shutting down some fuel outlets.

This crackdown, known as “Operation Whirlwind,” aimed to curb the smuggling of subsidized petrol to Cameroon, Benin, and Togo—a practice that has thrived for years due to the significant price difference.

Buba explained that the operation initially led to the seizure of tanker trucks belonging to IPMAN members. Although the trucks were released following protests by the association, the continued impoundment of more vehicles and the closure of several petrol stations led to the widespread shutdown.

“We wrote to them [Nigeria Customs] again, but there were no responses. That is why we decided to go on strike,” Buba said, adding that over 1,800 outlets had ceased operations.

“This is our business, and we cannot be quiet when our members are treated this way,” Buba added, emphasizing the association’s frustration with the ongoing situation.

In response to the closures, the black market has surged, with fuel vendors in Adamawa’s capital, Yola, selling petrol at N1,400 per liter—significantly higher than the official pump price of between N650 and N750.

This has placed an additional burden on consumers, who now face inflated costs amid the fuel scarcity.

Mangsi Lazarus, the customs spokesperson for Adamawa and Taraba, defended the operation, stating that the impounded tanker trucks were indeed being used to smuggle petrol.

“We are simply carrying out our duty to prevent illegal activities that harm the economy,” Lazarus said.

The fuel crisis comes as oil prices edged higher globally due to anticipated strong driving demand, geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, and drone attacks on Russian refineries.

Brent crude futures for August delivery rose by 0.9% to $86.04 a barrel, while US crude gained 1.1% to $81.63 per barrel.

“The chief underlying reason behind the price strength … is the growing confidence that global oil inventories will inevitably plunge during the summer in the northern hemisphere,” said Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM, referring to seasonal demand for oil products.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Inch Down Amid Dollar Strength and Interest Rate Concerns

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Crude oil prices declined on Monday as the U.S. dollar strengthened and concerns over potential interest rate hikes resurfaced.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, slipped marginally by 3 cents to settle at $85.21 per barrel following a modest 0.6% decline on Friday.

Similarly, U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil saw a minimal decrease of 2 cents to close at $80.71 per barrel.

Market analysts pointed to the robust performance of the U.S. dollar, which gained ground after the release of positive Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) data on Friday.

Tony Sycamore, a markets analyst at IG in Sydney, noted, “The U.S. dollar has opened bid this morning and appears to have broken higher following better U.S. PMI data on Friday night and political concerns ahead of the French election.”

A stronger dollar typically makes dollar-denominated commodities like oil less attractive for holders of other currencies, putting downward pressure on prices.

Last week, however, both Brent and WTI crude contracts managed to gain approximately 3% each.

This was largely driven by increasing signs of demand recovery for oil products in the U.S., the world’s largest consumer of crude oil. Additionally, ongoing supply constraints enforced by OPEC+ further supported market sentiment.

According to ANZ analysts, U.S. crude inventories continued their decline while gasoline demand recorded a seventh consecutive weekly rise.

Moreover, jet fuel consumption has rebounded to levels last seen in 2019, indicating a robust recovery in travel-related fuel demand.

Speculative activity in the oil market has also been notable, with analysts from ING observing an increase in net-long positions in ICE Brent as traders adopt a more positive outlook heading into the summer months.

“We remain supportive towards the oil market with a deficit over the third quarter set to tighten the oil balance,” they stated.

Despite these bullish indicators, geopolitical tensions persisted, providing a floor for oil prices.

Escalating conflicts in the Middle East, including the Gaza crisis and increased drone attacks on Russian refineries by Ukrainian forces, continued to underpin market sentiment.

In South America, Ecuador’s state oil company Petroecuador declared force majeure on deliveries of Napo heavy crude for exports due to severe weather conditions.

Heavy rains led to the shutdown of a critical pipeline and oil wells, impacting production and exports.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the number of operating oil rigs fell by three to 485 last week, marking the lowest count since January 2022, according to Baker Hughes’ weekly report.

Looking ahead, the interplay between the U.S. dollar’s strength, geopolitical developments, and economic indicators such as PMI data will likely dictate short-term oil price movements.

Investors and analysts remain vigilant for any shifts in these factors that could influence global oil market dynamics in the coming weeks.

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Gold

First Commercial Gold Transaction Nets Nigeria $5 Million in Foreign Reserves

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The Ministry of Solid Minerals Development has concluded its first commercial transaction under the National Gold Purchase Program (NGPP), bolstering the nation’s foreign reserves by $5 million.

Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, announced the successful sale of over 70 kilograms of gold, refined to meet the stringent London Bullion Market Association Good Delivery Standard.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Alake emphasized the economic significance of the transaction, stating that it injects approximately NGN 6 billion into the rural economy.

He lauded President Tinubu for his unwavering support for reforms in the solid minerals sector, highlighting the pivotal role of the NGPP in enhancing Nigeria’s foreign reserves and bolstering the value of the Naira.

“This transaction represents a strategic move to use the Nigerian Naira to acquire a liquid asset denominated in United States Dollars, demonstrating a viable strategy for fiscal and monetary stability,” Alake stated.

He further expressed confidence in the NGPP’s ability to contribute to Nigeria’s economic diversification agenda, fostering greater economic confidence and attracting foreign investment.

Executive Secretary of the Solid Minerals Development Fund, Fatima Shinkafi, explained that adherence to the London Bullion Market Good Delivery Standard ensures that Nigeria’s gold exports meet global trading requirements.

She emphasized that only gold bars meeting these standards are acceptable in the settlement of Loco London contracts, reinforcing Nigeria’s credibility in the global gold market.

President Tinubu, upon receiving a symbolic gold bar, commended the Ministry for achieving a crucial milestone in the nation’s economic diversification efforts.

He described the transaction as a concrete step towards realizing the objectives of the Renewed Hope Agenda, aimed at reducing economic dependence on oil and gas revenues.

Through initiatives like the NGPP, Nigeria aims to further enhance its gold reserves, promote economic stability, and create an environment conducive to sustainable economic growth.

The successful completion of the first commercial gold transaction marks a pivotal moment in Nigeria’s journey towards becoming a key player in the global gold market, driving economic prosperity and resilience.

The Ministry of Solid Minerals Development continues to advocate for supportive policies and regulatory frameworks that promote transparency, efficiency, and sustainability in the mining sector, laying the groundwork for future economic growth and development.

As Nigeria moves forward with its gold refining and export initiatives, stakeholders anticipate continued progress in diversifying revenue streams and strengthening the nation’s economic resilience on the global stage.

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