- Naira Depreciates Against the Dollar on Parallel Market on Friday
Naira continues its downward slide against the US dollar on the parallel market on Friday, according to the Abokifx report.
The local currency declined by N3 from N447 per US dollar it traded on Thursday to N450 on Friday.
While, against the British Pound, the Nigerian Naira was exchanged at N545 a pound on Friday, down from N543 it was sold on Thursday.
This same trend continues against the European single currency as the Naira slid from N470 it traded on Thursday to N472 on Friday.
On the Investors & Exporters FX Window, the Naira which opened the day at N387.75 to a US dollar moderated to N386.50, largely due to the surge in volume traded to $112.89 million. That was the same rate it traded on Thursday.
However, the official rate of the Central Bank of Nigeria remains N361 to a US dollar.
Despite efforts to support and prop up the value of the Naira, the Nigerian currency remains weak amid growing economic uncertainties.
A recent report by Investors King revealed that the CBN has been moping up Naira in circulation to reduce demand for the US dollar and better manage the weak foreign reserves.
A banker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the apex bank debited 26 banks a total sum of N459.7 billion on Thursday for failing to meet 27.5 percent Cash Reserve Ratio target.
According to him, the apex bank is hurting banks’ ability to purchase or demand for forex despite campaigns to stimulate and support businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He 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.”
Even with the apex bank devaluing the Naira to slow down capital outflow, foreign investors continue to demand for forex through various Nigerian banks to move their money out of the country. A move capable of hurting the nation’s foreign reserves and impede the apex bank’s ability to intervene in the foreign exchange market.
“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,” the banker added.
Foreign Sponsors Drives Infrastructure Projects In Nigeria – World Bank
Projects with foreign sponsors have played an important role in developing sizable infrastructure projects in Nigeria, the World Bank said on Thursday.
The World Bank said this in its report titled ‘Private participation in infrastructure 2020 annual report’.
It said sizable 2020 PPI investment commitments in Nigeria were mainly due to a big-ticket natural gas pipeline project.
The report said, “Nigeria has managed to report PPI investment commitments for five consecutive years since 2015. Sizable 2020 PPI investment commitments in Nigeria were mainly due to a big-ticket natural gas pipeline project.
“The $2.6bn pipelines will transport up to 3,500 million cubic feet of gas a day from various gas gathering projects in southern Nigeria.
“Projects with foreign sponsors, especially from China, have played an important role in developing sizable infrastructure projects in Nigeria.”
According to the report, there are four natural gas projects in some countries with $6.9bn in investment commitments in 2020.
It stated that one of them was the Ajaokuta–Kaduna–Kano pipeline, which was being developed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to transport natural gas from southern Nigeria to central Nigeria.
“The $2.8bn pipeline project represents phase one of the 1,300-kilometer Trans-Nigerian Gas Pipeline project, which is being developed as part of Nigeria’s Gas Master Plan to utilise the country’s surplus gas resources for power generation as well as for consumption by domestic customers,” it stated.
It said Mexico’s $4bn natural gas pipeline, storage, and corridor project was another one.
The report said it would be the largest natural gas storage facility in North America.
“The pipelines will provide a faster, more economical means of delivering natural gas to locations around the world,” it stated.
According to the report, investment commitments in 2020 stood at $45.7bn across 252 projects, marking a 52 percent decline from 2019 levels.
Private investment commitments had not fallen to these levels since 2004 when investment totaled $31.3bn, it stated.
Nevertheless, it added that despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, investments in the second half of the year increased by 15 percent from the first half of the year.
It stated that private investment commitments in 2020 fell in all regions except for Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa.
According to the report, the impact of COVID-19 was most severe in East Asia and the Pacific, followed by Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia, and South Asia.
It stated, “Investment commitments in International Development Association countries in 2020 totaled $6.2bn across 30 projects in 16 countries.
“This compared to $8.4bn across 27 projects in 18 countries in 2019. It is notable that there were more projects in IDA countries despite the pandemic.”
Also, it added, 2020 investment commitments in IDA countries were 21 percent higher than the 2015-2019 average of $5.2bn.
16,000 Jobs Will Be Created After National Theatre’s Renovation – Sunday Ododo
The National Theatre will have the capacity to employ about 16,000 Nigerians at the completion of its ongoing renovation. This was revealed by Prof. Sunday Ododo, the General Manager of National Theatre.
He said the 44-year-old complex will provide over 16,000 jobs during and after its ongoing renovation, according to a report by NAN. Mr.Ododo said on Thursday that most of the jobs would come from the fields of music, movies, fashion, and information technology.
“Some of the jobs will be direct. Others will be indirect. The National Theatre will definitely be a hub for lots of activities,” he said.
Recall that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Federal Government recently signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) for the renovation of the complex. Under the MOU, the CBN, through the Bankers Committee, will invest N21.894 billion to renovate the National Theatre, refurbish it and run it profitably.
CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele, at the signing of the MOU, said that revamping the complex would unlock a mass of creative talents of thousands of Nigerian youths in various fields. Information minister Lai Mohammed, who signed on behalf of the Federal Government, had also said that the Private-Public-Partnership arrangement would stimulate growth in various sectors of the economy.
Mr. Ododo, while assessing the progress of the project, said that work had begun with the contractors fully mobilised to the site. He said he was particularly excited at the prospects of many youths securing jobs at all stages of the renovation.
“The jobs will come directly and indirectly through the ongoing radical restoration, revamping and renovation of the edifice. When completed, the complex, which is 44 years old, will be a huge business centre. It will be the place to be. Food sellers and other petty businesses will not be left out. Those coming for events will be served.
“Administration after administrations have ensured the edifice stands. And I must salute our predecessors; I give them kudos. If not for their dedication and efforts, National Theatre would have collapsed long ago. It is capital intensive to maintain. So you can now imagine if a huge sum of 21.8 billion naira is being invested to restore the complex.
“If, for instance, we had maintenance support of a billion naira or even half a billion annually, we will not get to this point where so much is required to fix the edifice. That is why we are glad to inform Nigerians that with the new arrangement, there’s a component that says that once the work is finished, a company will be engaged to maintain the facility every day for the next five years.
“If its work is good, it will be re-engaged; if otherwise, another company will be brought on board. So, maintenance is part of the new arrangement so that we don’t go back to Egypt,” he explained.
He regretted that hospitality outfits had taken over the business of the centre. According to him, these outfits make huge profits that could have been taken by the National Theatre.
“When the National Theatre is up and running, some of these event centres will have to be more creative to be in business. Though we don’t want to send anybody out of business, our own prime target is international businesses because we have facilities that can host international events which many of these event centres don’t have.
“Also, we will be making available a media centre that can take care of multi-language interpretation and all that. We have a 5,000-capacity main bowl. That one can take any UN event, any World Bank event, and any international event. National Theatre will be the centre to beat,” he declared.
Once Again The National Grid Collapsed
Nigeria’s electricity transmission system, also known as the National grid, has suffered another system collapse, plunging Lagos, the country’s commercial capital, Kano and other major cities into a blackout.
The collapse, which occurred about 11.00 am on Tuesday, was confirmed by two of the country’s electricity distribution companies in separate messages to their customers.
“We regret to inform you that the power outage being experienced across our franchise – Kaduna, Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states – is as a result of the collapse of the national grid,” Kaduna Electric said on Twitter.
Eko Electricity Distribution Company Plc, in a text message to its customers, said: “Dear customer, there is a partial system collapse on the national grid. Our TCN partners are working to restore supply immediately. Please bear with us.”
The grid, which is being managed by the government-owned Transmission Company of Nigeria, has continued to suffer system collapse over the years amid a lack of spinning reserve that is meant to forestall such occurrences.
Spinning reserve is the generation capacity that is online but unloaded and that can respond within 10 minutes to compensate for generation or transmission outages.
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