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Scarcity of Funds Worsens as CBN Mops up N373 Billion



Treasury bills
  • Scarcity of Funds Worsens as CBN Mops up N373 Billion

Scarcity of funds in the interbank money market intensified last week as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) mopped up N373 billion through sales of treasury bills (TBs).

Analysis of development in the interbank money market revealed that the CBN conducted daily secondary market (open market operations, OMO) treasury bills during the week as well as three primary market auctions, in a bid to mop up funds from the market and prevent too much Naira pursuing the available foreign exchange resources and putting pressure on exchange rates.

Analysis revealed that the N470 billion worth of bills offered by the CBN recorded 87 per cent subscription as total subscription stood at N429 billion while the apex bank sold N373 billion.

In the secondary market, the total public subscription to the N160 billion worth of bills offered by the CBN, stood at N66 billion while the apex bank sold N63 billion.

However, the N310 billion worth of bills offered by the CBN in the primary market recorded oversubscription, with total public subscription at N363 billion while the apex bank sold N310 billion.

The N373 billion worth of bills sold in both market eliminated the impact of the inflow of N310 billion through matured Nigerian Treasury Bills, NTBs, during the week. This combined with outflow through funding for purchase of CBN’s intervention dollar sales aggravated scarcity of funds in the market during the week.

Financial investigation revealed that amount of cash in the market dropped from N74 billion at the beginning of the week to N2 billion at the close of business on Friday.

This prompted short term cost of funds to rise by 50 per cent during the week, with interest rate on Overnight lending and Secured lending (Open Buy Back, OBB) rising from 10 per cent the previous week to 15 per cent at the close of business last week.

Analysts at Cowry Asset Management Limited, a Lagos based investment firm, however predicted that cost of funds would be stable this week. They stated: “This week, in the absence of any treasury bill maturities and auctions, we anticipate interbank lending rates to remain relatively stable.”

External reserve rises to $29.7bn

Meanwhile, the nation’s external reserve rose to $29.7 billion last week, even as the Naira depreciated to N465 per dollar at the close of business on Friday in the parallel market, defying additional dollar supply of $450 million by the CBN.

According to data at the apex bank, the external reserve rose from $29.5 billion the previous week to $29.7 at the close of business last week, indicating $200 million accretion. Cumulatively, the external reserve has risen by $3.9 billion, from $25.8 billion the beginning of the year.

However, the sharp appreciation of the Naira in the parallel market the previous week was halted and partly reversed last week as the parallel market exchange rate rose to N465 per dollar at the close of business on Friday from N450 per dollar the previous week, indicating depreciation of N15 or 3.3 per cent.

The Naira depreciation was despite additional dollar supply of $450 million by the CBN during the week. On Monday the apex bank injected $180 million comprising $100 million into the wholesale forwards segment of the market and an additional $80 million into the banks specifically for the settlement of dollar demand for school fees, medicals and Personal Travel Allowance (PTA), among others.

This was followed by injection of another $370 million towards the close of business on Friday, apparently in response to the rise in parallel market exchange rate to N465 the same day.

Analysts however differed in the projections for the Naira this week.

Analysts at Afrinvest Plc stated: “We expect official market rates to continue to trade within a tight band as the CBN sustains its intervention program, parallel market rate is however expected to pull southwards until demand and supply dynamics establishes new short term rate”.

On the other hand, Cowry Assets Management analysts stated: “We expect less pressure on the naira in the foreign exchange market due to likely increase in supply amidst build up in foreign exchange reserves”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.


CBN Freezes Another 194 Accounts of firms, BDCs, Others



Godwin Emefile

The Central Bank of Nigeria on Thursday said it got orders from the Federal High Court, Abuja division, to freeze 194 bank accounts belonging to firms and Bureaux de Change to enable it to conduct investigations into suspicious activities.

It disclosed this on Thursday in three separate documents on its website.

In one of the documents, the CBN said it got an order to freeze 60 bank accounts of Bluebeam Capital Limited.

The accounts were domiciled in 13 different banks, the CBN as the plaintiff stated.

Bluebeam, as the respondent had eight accounts each in Access Bank and Keystone Bank; seven each in First Bank and Ecobank; five each in UBA and GTBank; four each in Fidelity Bank, FCMB and Sterling Bank; three accounts in Polaris Bank; two each in Wema Bank and Heritage Bank; and one in Providus Bank.

In another document, the CBN said it got an order to freeze 84 accounts in 17 banks.

The third document revealed that the banking regulator had the court order to freeze 50 accounts domiciled in different banks.

The motions exparte which were signed on different dates sought the orders of the court to direct the banks to freeze all other bank accounts of the defendants for a period of 180 days, pending the outcome of investigation and inquiry being conducted by the CBN.

In the document signed by the Presiding Judge, A.R. Mohammed, the court empowered the CBN to direct the banks to freeze all the bank accounts for a period of 45 days only, pending the outcome of the investigation.

It added that the order may be extended upon good reasons shown.

Any person aggrieved by this order could apply to the court to have the order set aside, discharged or have the order reviewed upon good reasons without waiting for the 45 days to lapse, the document stated.

The CBN on Wednesday disclosed it got an order to freeze 11 bank accounts to enable it conduct investigations into suspicious activities.

It had listed the names of the defendants/respondents as Albert Austin Ugochukwu with two bank accounts; Belfour Energy & Allied Services; Belfour Oil and Gas Limited with three bank accounts; Circle Flow Integrated Services; Kacynaus Reality Nigeria Limited with three bank accounts; and Tasmara Integrated Services.

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Banking Sector

Insider Dealing: Henry Oroh, An Executive Director of Zenith Bank, Acquires N46.982 Million Worth of Zenith Bank Shares



Henry Oroh

Henry Oro, an executive director of Zenith Bank Plc, has dumped N46.982 million on shares of Zenith Bank, according to the latest filing with the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

The executive director purchased Zenith Bank’s shares of 724,527 on April 1st, 2021 at N22.05 each or N15.976 million.

On April 6th, Oroh added 612,573 shares at N22 a unit and another 400,000 units at N21.90 per share.

On the same day, he purchased another 400,000 units at N21.90 a share. Bringing aggregate purchase on April 6th to 1,412,573 at an average price of N21.95 a unit or N31.006 million.

Henry Oroh has spent a total of N46.982 million on Zenith shares in April.

Henry Oroh was appointed as Zenith Bank’s executive director on September 1st, 2019 and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from the University of Benin, Edo State and an MBA from the Lagos State University as well as an LLB Degree from the University of London.

He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and an honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIBN), Nigeria.

He has over two decades of banking experience. He began his banking career in 1992 at Citibank where he served for seven (7) years in Operations, Treasury and Marketing.

He joined Zenith Bank in February 1999 and has worked in various Groups and Departments within the Zenith Group Office. His expertise spans Operations, Information Technology, Treasury, Marketing, including the Manufacturing, Food and Beverages, Pharmaceuticals, Oil and Gas, Public Sector, Consumer, as well as Corporate Banking and Business Development.

In April 2012, he was seconded to Zenith Bank Ghana Limited as an Executive Director and became the Managing Director/ Chief Executive in February 2016, where he successfully spearheaded the phenomenal growth of the Zenith Brand both within the Ghana market and the West African sub-region.

Henry has attended several Leadership Programmes and Executive Management Courses at the Harvard Business School, Columbia Business School, New York, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, HEC Paris, JP Morgan Chase, UK and the Lagos Business School.

He comes to the Board of Zenith Bank Plc with strong competencies in Credit & Marketing, Operations, Information Technology, Treasury and impressive Leadership skills.

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Banking Sector

Access Bank Lagos City Marathon Adopts Virtual Audience For 10km Runners



In a bid to ensure the health and safety of all runners and essential service workers amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, the title sponsors of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, Access Bank PLC, has announced that the Lagos City Marathon will be held virtually for interested 10km runners this year.

The marathon, scheduled for April 10, 2021 can only accommodate 300 runners in line with the guidelines provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Athletics and the Lagos State Ministry of Health.

Speaking on the development, Access Bank’s Executive Director of Retail Banking, Victor Etuokwu said, “Our primary consideration is the health and safety of participants, attendees and staff that will be a part of the Lagos City Marathon. This is why we decided to have an exclusive virtual event – that allows participants from all over the world to run the race wherever they are.

‘’While we regret that we can’t host the live 10km race and fanfare that have become synonymous with the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, we continue to stand with the other sponsors to preserve public health as we look forward to hosting a successful marathon. We implore all well-meaning Lagosians to please adhere to the movement guidelines put in place by the Lagos State Government to ensure that the marathon fulfills its purpose of positively placing Lagos and indeed the whole of Africa on the global map,” he concluded.

Though audience participation may have changed, the organisers have also announced that the race route will largely remain the same. Runners will begin the race from the National Stadium, Surulere, opposite Teslim Balogun Stadium and finish at the Eko Atlantic City, Victoria Island.

Now in its sixth edition, the Silver – Labelled Access Bank Lagos City Marathon has featured over 200,000 registered athletes from over 12 participating countries collectively covering a distance of 42,000 kilometers.

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