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CBN Not Mandated to Sell Dollars to Airlines, Godwin Emefiele Tells Foreign Airlines

The Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that it was not mandated by any law to sell dollars to foreign airlines operating in the country.

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The Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that it was not mandated by any law to sell dollars to foreign airlines operating in the country.

The central bank governor Godwin Emefiele while speaking at the monetary policy committee meeting stated that the apex bank is committed to clearing up trapped funds of foreign airlines, however, it was not the CBN’s responsibility to provide the funds in dollars.

The CBN governor said, “The sector is a sector that has always enjoyed priority allocation. For other sectors where there are priorities like the airlines, we have always granted them the priority that they desire because we know people want to travel and they don’t want to be constrained by the need for them to travel. 

“In spite of this, we have seen that the number of travels or naira value of tickets issued by the airlines has increased. We decided to release $265 million when the pressure was building aggressively. 

“We will do everything possible and are determined to clear the backlog and consistently, at all the retail interventions. As long as the bank accounts are funded, we will continue to ensure that the cumulative backlog is cleared. 

“But I think it is important for me to say this — the foreign airlines are saying this because they said we should respect bilateral air services agreements (BASA) that say proceeds of all their ticket sales must be repatriated out of the country.

“It did not say you must repatriate all your dollars. There is no law that makes it compulsory that you must buy your dollars from the central bank. When you put money in your account, what it means is that you tell your bank to buy your dollar.

“Your bank will go to the legitimate or approved sources which in this case is the I&E to buy dollars and pay for your ticket sales proceeds.

“If they don’t find, they may resort to the CBN but it doesn’t mean that the CBN is under compulsion to provide your dollars because it is good for me to say this so that people don’t just rest on the conclusion that CBN is under compulsion to provide the dollars.” 

Recall that the issue of trapped funds had generated several reactions from aviation stakeholders and the non-repatriation of airlines revenue had grown from $450 million in May to $464 million in July. The CBN intervened by releasing $265 million to clear part of the forex backlog.

It should be recalled that earlier this month, Investors King had reported that the federal government of Nigeria sought to sanction airlines selling tickets in dollars.

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Economy

Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo Seeks Collaboration With Vietnam on Agriculture and Technology

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Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo has sought collaboration with Vietnam in the areas of agriculture and technology. The vice president spoke in Vietnam at a bilateral meeting on Monday. 

During the meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart, Võ Thị Ánh Xuân, Osinbajo acknowledged both countries’ market potentials in the digital economy, telecommunications, and agriculture. 

Speaking at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo noted that telecommunication penetration in Nigeria is one of the deepest in any developing country, stating that about 120 million Nigerians now use one telecom service or the other.

Calling for collaboration on digital economy, Osinbajo said “We have close to 120 million of our citizens who have put to use telecom equipment or devices. And also, broadband connectivity is vastly improved. We hope that by 2025, we will have broadband connectivity for all of our over 200 million people”. 

On the call for collaboration in the area of agriculture, the vice president noted that cashew production is an important area in which both counties can partner. 

He said ” Given the food crisis that the world faces today, and is likely to continue facing even in the coming years, I like to say that the way forward is for our countries to collaborate. For instance, establishing cashew processing plants in Nigeria”. 

Investors King understands that Vietnam is the world’s second-largest cashew processor with an annual processing capacity of 1.2 million tons representing up to 40 percent of the world’s total capacity. 

Speaking at the event, the Vietnamese Vice President commended Nigeria’s leadership role in the ECOWAS sub-region and Africa generally, especially in the peaceful resolution of disputes. 

She also commended Nigeria’s handling of the Covid 19 pandemic while reposing confidence in Nigeria’s ability to resolve challenges confronting the African continent and the West African region in particular. 

Conclusively, she added that her country would continue to work with Africa to meet its aspirations in agriculture, clean energy and digital penetration.

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Economy

Togo, Benin, and Niger Republic Owe Nigeria N4.1 Trillion in Electricity Debts

Nigeria currently supplies electricity to the Republic of Benin, Togo, and Niger through the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading, NBET Plc

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Electricity - Investors King

The House of Representatives on Public Account has disclosed that Nigeria’s neighbouring countries, Togo, Benin, and Niger Republic owe the country about N4.1 trillion in electricity bills.

The revelation was contained in a letter sent by the committee to the Managing Director of Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading, NBET Plc, Dr. Nnaemeka Eweluka.

According to the letter which was signed by the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Oluwole Oke, the Managing Director of NBET is expected to appear alongside Dr. Marilyn Amobi, who served as MD/CEO from 2016 to 2020. 

The house committee has accused the former MD, Amobi of non-rendition of the Audited Accounts for the years 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Investors King understands that Nigeria currently supplies electricity to the Republic of Benin, Togo, and Niger through the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading, NBET Plc. About 6 percent of the electricity generated in the country is sold to the neighboring countries. 

Meanwhile, according to the managing director of NBET, the federal government is working on structures that will enhance power distribution in the country, stating that most of the power-generating companies are currently located in the southern part of the country. 

“Most of the power generation companies are located within the south-south and south-west largely because of gas with one in the south-east, of course, we have the hydros in Niger state,” he said.

The MD added that Nigeria could generate up to a capacity of about 14,000 megawatts. He however noted that the distribution capacity is only between 4,000 to 5,000 megawatts per day.

Eweluka nonetheless sounded a note of hope, making references to the intervention projects that are currently ongoing such as the partnership with Simens.

“To address this gap between what is available and what the system can currently carry; there are a number of intervention projects that the government is currently pursuing, that include the presidential power initiatives in partnership with Siemens,” he concluded.

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Economy

No Plan to Increase Fuel Price; Says FG

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NNPC - Investors King

The Federal Government has stated that it has no plan to increase fuel price during the yuletide period.

This assurance is coming amid the nationwide fuel scarcity which has pushed the price of petrol above N250 in many retail stations.

Investors King learnt that fuel is being held for N250 per litre in Abuja and several other cities across the country while black marketers are charging between N400 and N450 per litre.

The scarcity and the high price of fuel are however becoming unbearable for many Nigerians, especially those who have reasons to embark on business travel for the December festivals.

According to the National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Chief Ukadike Chinedu, most of the association members, who owned the bulk of the filling stations across the country, were now subjected to purchasing PMS at about N220/litre, which was why many outlets currently dispensed at about N250/litre and above.

He noted that the cost of the commodity has been on the rise due to its unavailability and other concerns in the sector. 

He added that the price of fuel could be sold from N350/litre to N400/litre before the end of the year. 

Meanwhile, a number of senior officials at the NNPC had stated that the subsidy was becoming too burdensome on the national oil company, as this was another reason for the scarcity of PMS.

According to a source who is familiar with the development as reported by Punch News, “How can we continue to import 60 million litres of petrol daily and keep subsidising it, while millions of litres are either diverted or cannot be accounted for? The burden is too much, as you rightly captured in that story”. 

Investors King understands that NNPC is the sole importer of petroleum into the country and it pays billions of naira every month to subsidise the product to N147 per litre. 

Reuters News reported that in August 2022, NNPC paid more than $1 billion as fuel subsidy while the federal government earmarked N3.6 trillion as fuel subsidy in the 2023 budget proposal. 

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