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NASS Leaders Meets With Finance Minister, Delibrates Over 2022-2024 MTEF/FSP

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Zainab Ahmed

President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, on Monday evening met with the Minister of Finance, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, over the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.

The meeting which started at 5:11 pm lasted till about 7:15 pm, had in attendance the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase and some other principal officers of both chambers, Senators and Members of the House of Representatives.

According to the Senate President, the meeting was convened at the instance of the leadership of the National Assembly to deliberate on projections in the 2022-2024 MTEF/FSP needed to facilitate the early presentation of the 2022 budget by President Muhammadu Buhari in September this year.

Lawan in his welcome address recalled the commitment of the Ninth National Assembly towards the early passage of the nation’s annual budget.

He explained that the development was responsible for the 100 percent implementation of the 2020 Appropriations Act which should be achieved also in 2021.

The Senate President added that the interaction between the National Assembly and the Ministry of Finance on the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework would facilitate the early presentation of the 2022 Appropriations Bill in September this year.

He said, “We all recall how this Ninth National Assembly committed itself Ab initio to ensuring the passage of the Appropriations before the end of December of every year, to enable the implementation of the Appropriations Act to start January of every year.

“So far, we have achieved that in the 2020 budget and 2021 budget as well. This has significantly improved the implementation of the Appropriations Act, culminating in the 100 percent implementation of the 2020 budget, and we are optimistic that the implementation of the 2021 budget would also achieve 100 percent.

“The 2022 Appropriations Bill would be predicated on the MTEF/FSP 2022-2024. [And] it is very important that this interaction takes place so that the National Assembly is able to consider the MTEF in very good time to allow the Executive arm of government prepare the Appropriations Bill for 2022.

Speaking, the Minister of Finance, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, recalled that Nigeria was able to make a quick exit from recession in the third quarter of 2020 despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy.

According to her, this had an attendant “negative growth” on the Nigerian economy as a result of the significant and sudden drop in crude oil price in the international market.

The Finance Minister disclosed that although the Nigerian economy experienced more revenue earnings in 2020 from non-oil sectors, other sectors such as transport still remain in the negative.

“The economy since then has sustained a tepid growth in the first quarter of 2021, with a growth of 0.51 percent consolidating our exit from recession in the fourth quarter.

“The growth of the Nigeria economy, we are pleased to say, is driven largely by the non-oil sector, which has risen to 0.79 percent, masking the deterioration in the oil sector.

“The sectoral growth in the non-oil sector was primarily driven by telecoms and agriculture sectors as well as other sectors of the Nigerian economy.

“Significant concerns still exist in the performance of trade, as well as transport sector which is still in a very strong negative growth”, she said.

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Banking Sector

85.51 Million Nigerian Bank Customers Face Withdrawal Freeze Over NIN, BVN Deadline

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First Bank

As the March 1 deadline looms, an estimated 85.51 million Nigerian bank customers are facing the possibility of frozen accounts due to their failure to link their National Identification Numbers (NINs) and/or Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs) to their accounts.

Recent findings reveal the potential scale of the impending banking crisis.

Data from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) indicates that Nigeria had approximately 146 million active individual bank customers as of December 2022.

However, by January 26, 2024, only 60.49 million BVNs were recorded on the NIBSS portal, leaving a significant portion unlinked.

Meanwhile, about 104 million NINs had been issued by December 2023, highlighting the disparity between NIN issuance and BVN linkage.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had earlier issued directives to banks, mandating them to restrict transactions on accounts lacking linked NINs and BVNs, with effect from March 1, 2024.

Any accounts found non-compliant risk being designated as ‘Post no Debit,’ rendering them unable to process further transactions.

Responding to the impending crisis, the Director-General of the National Identification Management Commission (NIMC), Abisoye Coker-Odusote, emphasized the need for the revalidation of Front-End Partners (FEPs) to ensure the integrity of the identity database.

She underscored the importance of NIN registration and urged collaboration with various stakeholders to expedite the process.

The Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Maida, reiterated the significance of linking NINs to SIM cards to enhance national security.

Telecom subscribers were urged to comply with the NIN-SIM linkage directive to avoid service disruptions.

Meanwhile, financial service providers like Opay have issued reminders of the impending restrictions, urging customers to comply with the linkage requirements.

Amidst concerns, some customers contemplate transferring funds to compliant accounts to avoid potential financial setbacks.

As the deadline approaches, stakeholders are intensifying efforts to mitigate the impact of the impending banking crisis on millions of Nigerians.

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Banking Sector

Central Bank of Nigeria Injects Over $300 Million to Stabilize Naira-Dollar Exchange Rate

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In a bid to mitigate the continuous depreciation of the naira against the dollar, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has injected over $300 million into the foreign exchange market.

This move comes amidst concerns over the instability of the naira-dollar exchange rate, which has seen rates soar as high as N1850/$ in recent trading sessions.

The Association of Corporate Treasurers of Nigeria revealed the CBN’s intervention in an advisory memo to its members, highlighting the significant injections made over the past two weeks.

The memo underscores the urgency to address the steep decline in the value of the naira, which has posed challenges to businesses and individuals alike.

The CBN’s proactive measures signal a concerted effort to stabilize the forex market and restore confidence in the domestic currency.

The injection of funds aims to provide liquidity and alleviate pressure on the naira, which has experienced rapid depreciation in recent weeks.

Market analysts anticipate that the CBN’s intervention will help mitigate the volatility of the naira-dollar exchange rate, providing relief to businesses and consumers grappling with the economic uncertainties.

The move reflects the CBN’s commitment to maintaining stability in the forex market and fostering economic growth amidst challenging times.

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Banking Sector

FBN Holdings Surpasses GTCO, Zenith Bank to Become Nigeria’s Most Valuable Bank

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Femi Otedola

FBN Holdings has emerged as Nigeria’s most valuable bank, surpassing Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO) and Zenith Bank in terms of market capitalization.

At the close of trading on Monday, FBN Holdings achieved a market capitalization of N1.22 trillion, solidifying its position at the forefront of the banking sector.

The bank’s market cap is now higher than GTCO’s N1.16 trillion and Zenith Bank’s N1.11 trillion.

The surge in FBN Holdings’ market capitalization represents a 56.68% increase since Femi Otedola assumed the role of chairman on January 31st.

Otedola’s stewardship has been instrumental in driving FBN Holdings’ exponential growth.

Since he was appointed a non-executive director in August 2023 and subsequent ratification by shareholders, his leadership has been characterized by strategic decision-making and investor confidence.

Holdings’ shares have risen from N21.70 to N34 under his chairmanship, representing a significant boost for investors and shareholders.

The market’s positive response to Otedola’s leadership underscores the importance of effective governance and visionary leadership in driving financial performance and investor value.

Minority shareholders have expressed optimism about Otedola’s impact on dividend payments and capital appreciation, highlighting his track record of prioritizing shareholder interests in his previous roles.

FBN Holdings’ ascent to the top spot signals a new era of growth and stability for the bank, setting the stage for continued success in Nigeria’s dynamic financial landscape.

As the banking sector navigates evolving market conditions, FBN Holdings’ position at the pinnacle reflects its resilience and adaptability in driving sustainable value for stakeholders.

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