- Bridging the Gap Between Official/Parallel Market Rates
Gwadabe urged the directors to help CBN reduce the gap between the official and parallel market rates. “As a Nigeria, anytime I see the gap increasing, I become concerned. These gaps are created by currency speculators’ compromise. Speculators are the biggest challenge facing the naira,” he said.
He said BDCs are better positioned in networking, convenient and more effective than the conventional banks in the elimination of rates disparity.
Highlighting the dangers of speculation, he said any money made through such practices will not help the economy. “Speculation creates inflation, and the funds made through illegal means will also be spent on the problems they have created. Anytime the naira weakens, the economy suffers and there will be job losses and rise in crime rate,” he said.
Continuing, he said: “ABCON will continue to update all directors on CBN’s and other regulatory agencies’ forex sale requirements. We have a duty to reverse the negative perception many stakeholders’ have on our operations by complying with regulatory guidelines”.
Gwadabe said the BDCs are in the watch list of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and United States of America because of the critical role they play in economies of nations. He cited cases where the BDC operators, had in the past, helped the CBN to strengthen the naira.
“We saw the naira appreciate from N520/$ in late January to about N380/$ after the CBN resumed sale of forex to BDCs. That was what everyone needed to know that BDCs have major role to play in naira’s stability. We have chosen to support the CBN and be part of the positive story surrounding the naira. We are happy that our contributions are paying off,” he said.
According to him, fall in crude oil prices and exit of foreign investors, triggered drop in dollar inflows and adversely affected naira’s value.
Also, the South-west Zonal Chairman, ABCON, Taiwo Ebenezer, said BDC operators are willing and ready to get information that will improve their business and economy.
He said the overall interest of BDCs is to improve the status of the naira, because the decline in value of the naira leads to higher inflation.
Ebenezer however, urged the CBN to take steps that will ensure that only BDCs sell Personal Travel Allowances (PTAs) and Business Travel Allowances (BTAs). He said: “If the BTAs, PTAs, and tuition are left in the hands of BDCs, we will be held responsible for any abuse. But today, BDCs are not the only players in the market as the banks also operate.
It is important to leave this segment of the forex market entirely for BDCs,” he advised.
One of the BDC operators, Folashade Adebayo, said all operators should unite against the forex speculators.
“The speculators are giving us bad name and killing the naira. Let’s unite and chase them out of the market and save the naira. The challenge is how do we ensure that when speculators buy from us, they do not go to the back and sell to parallel market operators? We must devise means to stop them before they stop us,” she added.
Another BDC operator, Tony Emeka, praised ABCON leadership under Gwadabe for constructively engaging the CBN and helping to raise weekly allocations from $8,000 to $20,000 even as the volume is expected to hit $40,000 in the coming weeks.
“It is not a simple task. ABCON has made us proud, and we have confidence in this leadership. We also want ABCON to engage CBN to review transaction margin. We need more dollar allocations from the CBN to force rates down,” he said.
Gwadabe called on security agencies to curb illegal currency transactions at Nigerian borders to strengthen the naira adding that recent surveillance of the nation’s boarders by combined teams of security agencies helped to cut frivolous demand for the dollar by 80 per cent.
Gwadabe praised CBN for the unveiling Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Forex Window.
The acting Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Mr. Isaac Okorafor recently said the new window for SMEs provides small scale importers an avenue to source forex to boost their respective businesses through the importation of eligible finished and semi-finished items. He, however, restated that no SME will be allowed to transact more than $20,000 per quarter.
Equally, other representatives of the CBN, DSS, and Police agreed that there was need for all stakeholders to stop forex speculators from destroying the naira.
Sterling Homes Plans To Reduce Housing Deficit
Sterling Homes Limited has said it is committed to working with the government through private public partnership to reduce housing deficit in all the geo-political zones in the country.
The Managing Director, Mr Kunle Adeyemi, said this during an event on the company’s rebranding organised as part of its 10th year anniversary in Lagos on Friday.
During the event, the company while expressing commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction, unveiled its new logo with colours to define its mission and objections.
“We want to be present in all the six geo-political zones on Nigeria by providing affordable luxury homes, excellent torch. So for us, there is a need for us to rebrand and have a new direction and vision.
“We want to partner with the government on the present housing deficit; we want to embrace a public, private partnership with the government to reduce the deficit in every geo-political zone.”
The managing director said that one of its unique selling points was its after sales services which was top notch.
He said it ensured that its customers were taken through the journey of actualising their dreams of becoming home owners.
While noting that everyone deserved to have a comfortable home despite the economic situation, he said it had designed a structure payment plan with zero interest in some cases to help intending home owners.
He said it also had provisions for high breed options and developing areas to accommodate various income levels.
Before the end of the year, he said, Sterling Homes would be establishing new presence and projects in other regions.
Mutual Benefits Drives Financial Inclusion
Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc says it is committed to deepening financial inclusion and creating easy accessibility for insurance in the country.
A statement from the firm on Friday said it expressed this commitment when it inaugurated its South-West region franchise operations in Ibadan, Oyo State.
The Managing Director, Mr Femi Asenuga, said this was part of its efforts to develop the insurance business and create values.
He said, “The role we all have to play is to be ambassadors of Mutual Benefits.
“A franchise is a well-known word and the way Mutual Benefits practices franchise is in our normal style of creating and adding value; we never rest.”
Asenuga said that the firm was working with stakeholders to increase awareness and take its message to the grassroots.
In developed economies, he said, insurance firms owned banks. He regretted that this was not the situation in Nigeria.
He said the firm would provide stakeholders with the platform and support to make them excel as a member.
The Managing Director, Mutual Benefits Life Assurance Limited, Mr Ademola Ifagbayi, appreciated the stakeholders and urged them to take advantage of the franchise.
The Group Managing Director, Odua Group, Mr Adewale Raji, in his address, advised stakeholders to be committed and showcase good character and integrity.
He said, “The Odua investment is owned by the six South-West governments and it is in our interest when economic, businesses and investment spreads across the South-West states.
“This is an opportunity for us to strengthen insurance penetration within the South-West states.”
CAC Sets Three-Hour Circle For Company Registration
The Corporate Affairs Commission on Sunday stated that following the successful deployment of an end-to-end registration module, it was now prioritising the reduction of the registration circle for new companies to just three hours before the end of year 2021.
Registrar-General of the commission, Garba Ababukar, gave the indication at a dinner in honour of the Chairman, Governing Board, CAC and Nigerian Ambassador Designate to the Kingdom of Spain, Ademola Seriki.
The commission disclosed this in series of tweets posted via its Twitter handle on Sunday.
“To achieve the target, the registrar-general said the commission was making arrangements to empower over 400 approving officers with working tools to process and approve registration applications either from home or anywhere necessary,” the agency stated.
Abubakar noted that the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic had adversely hampered CAC’s delivery timeline.
He, however, said the CAC was resolutely committed to serving its customers despite being forced to operate with less than 50 per cent of its workforce.
While bidding farewell to Seriki, the registrar-general said he received the news of his appointment with mix feelings as CAC was going to miss his tremendous support and guidance.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, described the outgoing CAC Chairman as a man of immense pedigree and endowed with enormous potential to justify the confidence reposed in him by the president.
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