- CBN Plans Dollar auction to Airlines, Importers
The Central Bank of Nigeria is planning to auction an undisclosed amount of dollars through book building to settle a backlog of demand for airlines, fuel and raw material imports.
Traders said the CBN had asked lenders to bid for hard currency for specific sectors in efforts to improve dollar liquidity, Reuters reported.
It said a cut-off rate at the auction would be applied at the marginal rate and that obligations due on fuel imports must had matured before January 31 to qualify for the intervention.
The CBN has been intervening aggressively since February to try to narrow the spread between the official and black market rates and has sold more than $4bn.
In theory, greater liquidity should lead rates to converge.
The local currency was quoted at 381.71 per dollar at the investor window, according to the market regulator FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange.
It fetched 305.60 in the interbank window and 390 on the black market.
Meanwhile, the naira has appreciated against the United States dollar by 25 per cent on the parallel market in the past 10 weeks, a new report by the Financial Derivatives Company Limited has shown.
The naira fell to 520/dollar on February 20 shortly after which the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced a new foreign exchange policy measure. But the local unit closed at 390/dollar on Tuesday.
The report read in part, “The naira has appreciated by 25 per cent on the parallel market in 10 weeks, but economic activity is lagging the currency gains. Skeptical Nigerians are wondering whether this naira momentum is sustainable. This is because a strong currency is not necessarily synonymous with a strong economy.
Highlighting other economic indices, the report said, “The good news is that inflation is sliding and First Bank of Nigeria’s Purchasing Managers Index, a measure of manufacturers’ confidence spiked by six per cent to 58.9. More importantly, oil production is reported to be two million barrel per day, a 32-month high.
“These indicators confirm the notion that the long anticipated economic recovery may have started ahead of analysts’ expectation. This recovery however is vulnerable to exogenous and domestic political shocks.”
The report linked the naira appreciation to four factors. These were: the sharp increase in oil revenue estimated at a monthly value of $2.5bn, a shift in exchange rate policy, a 16.9 per cent increase in forex supplied in Q1 2016, and the recent opening of a new investors/exporters FX window by the CBN.
According to the FDC document, the CBN is expected to reduce its frequency of intervention in the coming weeks. It also described the forex market as “imperfect” with a price discriminating monopoly.
It stated that the CBN had sold $3.6bn since February 20 when it introduced the forex policy.
Economic and financial experts are, however, divided over whether the CBN will sustain its intervention in the forex market or not.
The CBN has said it will continue to intervene in the market to meet the needs of genuine end-users and bolster the naira.
It said with oil price hovering above $50/barrel and external reserves still above $30bn, the regulator would continue to intervene in the market.
The report stated that the CBN might end the current multiple exchange rate regime by putting the Real and Effective Exchange Rate at something between 360/dollar and 375/dollar.
Econet Group and Mastercard To Collaborate on Fintech Solutions For Covid-19 Response in Africa
The Econet Group through its subsidiary Cassava Fintech International (Cassava Fintech) and Mastercard have entered into a strategic partnership to advance digital inclusion across Africa and collaborate on a range of initiatives including expansion of the Africa CDC TravelPass.
TravelPass is a digital health pass developed by Cassava Fintech and offered in conjunction with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). It is accessible to users of Cassava Fintech’s Sasai SuperApp and is recognised as one of the leading initiatives in the fight against the cross-border spread of Covid-19 in Africa. Mastercard is partnering with Cassava Fintech to enhance the security of TravelPass through Mastercard’s Community Pass platform. Mastercard Community Pass is an interoperable digital platform facilitating service delivery for marginalised individuals and communities, including access to critical health services like patient care plan tracking for Covid-19.
The joint initiative between Mastercard and Cassava Fintech seeks to offer a unified solution with greater convenience and enhanced security, that is expected to promote safe cross border travel in Africa in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The partnership will also allow the two organizations to explore collaboration such as the further integration of the Community Pass with Cassava Fintech’s mobile and financial services, acquiring and processing of card payments across the continent, along with the introduction of a virtual or physical card on the Sasai SuperApp.
Cassava Fintech’s CEO, Darlington Mandivenga said the partnership with Mastercard would pave the way for both companies to jointly tackle the challenges facing African economies as they re-open post the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are excited to work with Mastercard to explore solutions that will, among other things, mitigate the risk of falsified presentation of a third party’s Travel Pass at access and transit points,” Mandivenga said, adding that the same technology could also be used in payment solutions.
Cassava Fintech uses an integrated model to provide financial and digital services to ensure a “financially inclusive future that leaves no African behind”.
“We look forward to joining hands with Cassava Fintech in exploring new solutions that will make a difference and benefit the continent. In addition to digital innovation for future travel, Cassava will also leverage our secure payments network to advance access to financial services,” said Mark Elliott, Divisional President, Southern Africa, Mastercard.
Mastercard is a leading global technology company focused on building an inclusive, sustainable digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere, by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible.
Nestlé Health Science to Acquire Nuun
Nestlé Health Science and Nuun, a leader in functional hydration, have entered into an agreement in which Nestlé Health Science will acquire Nuun.
The acquisition complements Nestlé Health Science’s existing broad portfolio of active lifestyle nutrition brands with Nuun’s range of clean, low-sugar, effervescent tablets and powders.
“Every day, health-conscious consumers are becoming more aware of how functional hydration products can add to their overall well-being as well as support them during exercise by replacing the minerals that the body loses. That growing awareness is reflected in the steady growth of the category,” said Greg Behar, CEO of Nestlé Health Science. “Nuun is a leader in the fast-growing functional hydration category with its high-quality, clean, plant-based products. We look forward to combining our companies’ expertise to bring Nuun to more people around the world.”
Nuun was founded in Seattle, Washington in 2004, pioneering the separation of electrolyte replacement from carbohydrates. Its low-sugar electrolyte tablet revolutionized the sports beverage market. It now has a broad range of effervescent tablets and powders containing additional minerals and vitamins for energy, relaxation and overall well-being.
“Nestlé Health Science and Nuun share the same philosophy: nothing is more important than health and well-being,” said Kevin Rutherford, CEO of Nuun. “In joining Nestlé Health Science, Nuun will further its mission of ‘hydration that empowers the world to move more.’ The Nuun team has built an incredible business and now with the reach, expertise and capabilities of Nestlé, I’m confident that together we will grow, even more, making people and the planet healthier.”
The transaction is expected to close in Q3 2021. Financial details are not being disclosed.
itel Partners Amatem and Drug-Aid Distributes Relief Materials In Fight Against Malaria
To commemorate this year’s World Malaria Day, itel recently partnered with Amatem Softgel, an anti-malaria drug in Nigeria, and Drug-Aid Africa, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that provides medical drug supplies and support to low-income patients in Nigeria and across Africa.
A statement by itel explained that in tandem with the theme of this year’s World Malaria Day, ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’, the three brands joined the global fight against malaria by donating treated mosquito nets, free medical tests, mosquito repellent cream and free anti-malaria drugs to over 1,500 households in Isale-Akoka Community, Bariga, Lagos state.
It explained that malaria is a prevalent disease in sub-Saharan Africa, and was responsible for thousands of deaths yearly, adding that as socially responsible organisations, itel, Amatem Softgel, and Drug-Aid Africa, “believe that they have a quota to contribute in ensuring a relatively healthier society.”
The Marketing Manager for West Africa and Nigeria, itel, Oke Umurhohwo, expressed commitment in bridging the gap in low-income communities through its ‘Love Always On CSR initiative.’
He added that the brand was partnering with Amatem Softgel and Drug Aid Africa to provide these communities, “with an even greater fighting chance against malaria is a part of our commitment to them.”
The General Manager, Elbe Pharma, Shivakumar, said: “Malaria is a life-threatening disease, but it is preventable and curable. We at Elbe continue to find a better way to combat this disease, support the vulnerable ones especially the young children. Hence, the introduction of this innovative anti-malaria brand AMATEM SOFTGEL and this CSR partnership.”
The Programme Officer, Drug-Aid Africa, Oluseyi Sanyaolu, said malaria has been ravaging the vulnerable in the society for years, saying, “it is the reasons why Drug-Aid Africa is dedicated to supporting those in indigent communities with medicines and medical supplies. Together, we can end this menace.”
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