- CBN Debits N459.7bn from 26 Banks For Failing to Meet CRR Target
The Central Bank of Nigeria has continued to enforce its 27.5 percent Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) across all banks.
According to a Nairametrics report, the apex bank debited a total sum of N459.7 billion from 26 banks, including merchant banks, on Thursday for failing to meet the CRR target.
Some of the banks affected were United Bank for Africa Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Ltd, Zenith Bank Plc and First City Monument Bank Limited debited N82.3 billion, N59.3 billion, N50 billion and N45 billion, respectively.
While Guaranty Trust Bank Plc was debited N40 billion. See the complete list of debited banks below.The central bank-led monetary policy committee had left the CRR unchanged in the last monetary policy meeting held in May to mop up cash in circulation and better manage the rising inflation rate.
In order to ensure banks maintained a 27.5 percent cash reserve ratio, apex bank then imposed fine to check the activities of the bank. A move most bankers attributed to falling foreign reserves and the central bank’s method of reducing banks’ forex demand.
An anonymous banker, who preferred not to be mentioned, said “You know the central bank also does what we call retail FX intervention, that is when they sell FX to corporates. Now, because they don’t want banks coming with huge demands, what they do is that a day before the FX sales, they debit the banks so that the naira you have available is small and you cannot put them under pressure because of your FX demands. That has really been the driver.”
This was coming barely a month after the apex bank debited N1.4 trillion from the nation’s banks in April. According to the banker, between April and June, CBN has carried out minor CRR debits before Thursday’s debit.
“We understand that the central bank had set up a special CRR team that is supposed to monitor banks’ CRR once a month. But now, the team monitors banks’ CRR on a weekly basis. This is why the central bank is effectively debiting banks on a weekly basis. Some weeks ago, they debited some banks about N1.4 trillion. That was one of many. Between that time and now, there have been more debits that have happened. But the debits that are huge/significant are what is troubling the banks. There was a N300 billion that happened about two weeks ago. and then yesterday that was this N459.7 billion that was also debited.
“These are huge amounts that are leaving the banking sector. It’s a squeeze on the banks. A bank like First Bank, for instance, has about N1.4 trillion in CRR with the Central Bank. And there is Zenith Bank with equally as much as N1.5 trillion. These are monies that banks can potentially put in loans at 52% at 30%, or even put in money market instruments at maybe 10%. So, for a shareholder of these banks, this CRR debits are impairing the banks’ ability to increase their earnings because now are not able to use the funds that are legitimately theirs to create money for their shareholders. And the question is that under what framework is the Central Bank choosing to take people’s money?”
FINANCIAL LITERACY: Unity Bank Kick-Starts One Minute Genius 2.0
In its drive to boost financial literacy among students in primary and secondary schools across the nation, Nigerian lender, Unity Bank Plc has flagged off Season 2 of its pioneer educational gameplay, the One Minute Genius, OMG.
The OMG 2.0 gameplay, which kicked off on May 3, 2021, on the Unity Bank’s Website is an expanded version of the maiden edition to be played virtually.
Over 200 winners will emerge at the end of the 25-day contest. To win prizes in any of the categories, participating students can play the virtual game from Monday to Friday between 8 AM – 6 PM.
The One Minute Genius (OMG) is an initiative that underscores Unity Bank’s commitment to the development of the next generation, as it seeks to connect with their aspirations and reinforce the importance of education as a vehicle to empower the Nigerian child. Children and students between the ages of 6 –17 years can participate in the game.
According to the Divisional Head, Retail/SME & E-business, Unity Bank Plc, Mr. Olufunwa Akinmade, the idea is to enable the participants to improve their intelligence quotient and unleash the genius in them.
Mr. Olufunwa further explained that the game will be played as a blend of quizzes containing spelling Bee and Arithmetic questions. “The children that answer the questions correctly within the one-minute stipulated timeframe will be rewarded with cash prizes”, he quips.
Throwing more light on the initiative, Mr. Olufunwa said, “the Bank has decided to continue investing in the gameplay because it is pleased with the impact which the previous editions of the contest had created being a vehicle for reinvigorating the values of education through gamification and fun”.
Still speaking, Mr, Olufunwa stated: “Unity Bank remains committed to playing a critical role in advancing learning for a better society by developing the minds of our children. And this virtual, participatory learning and reward contest has proved quite effective in achieving the goals of motivating the students towards subject mastery using a branch of reinforcement model”
He added: “On the heels of COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted negatively on the education sector in Nigeria by disrupted learning, an activity such as the OMG provides a veritable opportunity to boost learning, even as all stakeholders continue to make deliberate efforts to cater to the needs of our future generation.
“We hope that parents and guardians will encourage their wards with every support needed to enable the students to explore the opportunity that this provides.”
Recall that the 2o20 edition of the OMG attracted massive interests from across Nigeria, producing no fewer than 120 winners who coasted home with millions of naira in cash rewards.
FG Borrowed $5.9B To Fight COVID-19 and Implement Budget – Minister of Finance
The federal government borrowed about $5.9 billion in 2020, to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and implement its budget. The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, revealed this yesterday.
A statement issued by her Special Adviser, Media and Communications, Mr. Yunusa Abdullahi, yesterday, indicated that the minister told the Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI) General Assembly during a webinar, that the federal government had to move quickly to save the economy.
Speaking on Nigeria’s fiscal response – short term interventions and impact on public finances, as an immediate fiscal response, Mrs. Ahmed said: “We did the following: Procured a $3.4 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and about $2.5 billion in local currency from the domestic capital market to support the 2020 budget implementation), among others.”
She noted that the government then packaged a N500 billion for COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund in the 2020 revised budget, as part of a N2.3 trillion Economic Sustainability Plan.
Mrs. Ahmed said that the government had begun the process of moving the economy away from its primary dependence on oil for revenues and foreign exchange, and making steady gains in addressing infrastructure and human capital challenges before the pandemic hit the global economy.
With COVID-19, Nigeria’s Bonny Light crude oil price fell from a peak of US$72.2 per barrel on January 7, 2020 to below US$20 by April 2020.
She said, “In effect, the US$57 crude oil price benchmark approved in the 2020 budget became unrealistic triggering the need to adjust the following variables: reduction of crude oil benchmark price from US$57 per barrel to US$28 per barrel; reduction of daily crude oil production benchmark from 2.18 million barrels per day (mbpd) to 1.9 mbpd; adjustment of the official exchange rate to N360/US$1 from N305/$.”
Mrs. Ahmed revealed that part of the federal government Supplementary Budget on COVID-19 would be spent on the procurement of 29. 588 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Union Bank CEO, Godson Chukwuemeka Okonkwo Acquires 2.4 Million Shares in the Bank Ahead of Acquisition
The Chief Executive Officer, Union Bank Plc, Godson Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, has purchased 2,431,917 ordinary shares of the bank, according to the latest disclosure filing from the lender.
The CEO acquired the 2,431,917 shares of Union Bank at N4.90 per share on Thursday 6th May 2021 from the floor of the Nigerian Exchange Ltd.
Okonkwo’s N11.916 million investment was after Investors King reported a possible acquisition of the bank by Zenith Bank or Access Bank following sources cited by Bloomberg.
Bloomberg said, “Atlas Mara Limited, the London Stock Exchange-listed pan-African banking group started by Mr. Bob Diamond has received a number of approaches for its 49.97 per cent holding in Lagos-based Union Bank of Nigeria.”
It also stated that Atlas Mara received interests from Nigerian and Middle Eastern lenders for its remaining assets on the continent, according to Bloomberg sources.
The sources claimed the banks in talks with Atlas Mara asked not to be identified as talks are private. But they mentioned Nigeria’s Zenith Bank Plc, Access Bank Plc and Morocco’s Attijariwafa Bank as some of the banks that have so far expressed interests in acquiring Union Bank.
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