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CBN Rules Out Naira Fall as External Reserves Hit $34bn

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  • CBN Rules Out Naira Fall as External Reserves Hit $34bn

The nation’s external reserves have hit $34bn from $33.6bn attained on October 25, the Central Bank of Nigeria has stated.

The reserves have been appreciating very fast after hitting $32bn on September 18.

The Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, CBN, Dr. Joseph Nnanna, who disclosed the latest figure in Lagos on Saturday, said the exchange rate stability achieved so far by the apex bank had come to stay.

He expressed confidence that the usual end-of-the-year rush would not push up the naira-dollar exchange rate contrary to some people’s expectations.

The CBN deputy governor said this while fielding questions from journalists at a forum organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

Nnanna was among the chief executive officers of companies who were conferred with the CIBN Fellowship Awards.

Asked if the exchange rate would go up as the end of the year was approaching, Nnanna said, “No, the rate will not go up, take it from me. We have achieved stability and the stability is here to stay.

“The sustainability is already evident, the reserves are growing. As I speak, the reserves are $34bn. When we had volatility, the reserves were as low as $20bn. But let me say one thing: Nigeria can make do with a reserve level of $20bn but it is the press who gives the impression that if the reserves fall below $30bn, then there is a problem.

“No, there is no problem. All we need to manage the economy and manage it properly is reserves that can cover at least three months of import. And in fact, as it is, $10bn or $12bn can give us reserve coverage of four months.”

The CBN chief said the Investors and Exporters foreign exchange window had performed beyond the bank’s expectations, adding that forex inflows in the past few months were huge.

Nnanna stated, “Our exchange rate is convergent; we are getting southward. In the IMF, they talk about the need to have one rate. The one rate can happen organically or inorganically. For us at the CBN, we believe that organic convergence is the way to go. Inorganic convergence, which is forced, will always produce an arbitrage and that we don’t want.

The President, CIBN, Prof. Segun Ajibola, said a flexible exchange rate was helpful in an environment that lacked hiccups in forex management and supply strategies.

He stated, “But in an environment that is so susceptible to the vagaries of foreign exchange market, in terms of inflow of foreign exchange income and over-reliance on basic items for importation, you run the risk of allowing the exchange rate to go to the rooftop, if you free it absolutely.

“Normally, you hardly find any economy where the foreign exchange management succumbs totally to the forces of demand and supply. The best that we have seen is managed floating, which is what the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced in February this year. But as the economy stabilises and is diversified, and as we see more sources of forex earnings stabilising, especially the non-oil export, then we can be more and more flexible in our foreign exchange management policy.”’

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade long experience in the global financial market.

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Access Bank Enters Into Definitive Agreement With Cavmont Capital

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Access Bank Signs Definitive Agreement With Cavmont Bank Ltd

Following July 8, 2020 announcement, the Board of Access Bank Plc on Thursday said its subsidiary, Access Bank Limited (Zambia) has entered into a definitive agreement with Cavmont Capital Holdings Zambia regarding the acquisition of Cavemont Bank Ltd.

In the statement released through the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the bank said the proposed acquisition will position Access Bank as one of the top 10 banks in Zambia and improve the bank’s momentum to advance its strategic objectives.

The bank said “This is a highly complementary transaction, combining ABZ’s wholesale and trade finance capabilities with Cavmonth Bank’s retail and commercial banking operations. Customers of the enlarged bank will benefit from greater security offered by what will be one of the most capitalised banks in Zambia with a more diversified product and service offering and a broader geographical footprint and infrastructure. The enlarged bank will be well-placed to participate in the long-term economic growth of Zambia, predicated on the country’s vast reserves of natural resources and fast-growing young population.

The transaction agreement showed Access Bank Zambia will acquire the entire issued share capital, assets and liabilities of Cavmonth Bank while Capricorn Group Limited, majority shareholder of Cavmonth Capital Holdings, will invest around $16.5 million or ZMW300 million of preference shares into Access Bank Zambia.

According to the bank, the transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Speaking on the transaction, Herbert Wigwe, the Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, said “Access Bank is focused on building the scale needed to become a leading bank in its key operating markets through leveraging the right partnerships. This transaction underscores our approach and is another stepping stone towards delivering on our strategic aspirations of becoming the World’s Most Respected African Bank and Africa’s Gateway to the World. It will strengthen our presence in Zambia, while furthering our footprint for growth in the COMESA region, Africa’s largest free trade area.

“Over the years, we have worked hard to build a sustainable international bank of African origin that can expand the potential of businesses, support economic prosperity, facilitate trade and investment and extend the power of banking to millions of people who do not yet have the financial tools to achieve their dreams. This proposed transaction aligns with that strategy”.

Thinus Prinsloo, Managing Director of Capricorn Group, also said: “Access Bank is an African banking group with an impressive growth trajectory and geographic reach across Africa and internationally. This transaction is an excellent strategic fit with Cavmont Bank’s presence in Zambia and will strengthen the capital base from which to achieve long-term sustainable growth. Zambia is an economy with th potential that is poised for a robust recovery, and this combination best positions the combined bank to harness these opportunities“.

Peet van der Walt, the Managing Director of Cavmont Bank, explained that: “Cavmont Bank’s vision is to be a world-class bank, rated amongst the best in Zambia. This proposed merger with Access Bank Zambia accelerates our strategy and positions us as a top ten bank in the country. As a subsidiary of one of the largest banking groups in Africa, Access Bank Zambia has the scale, capabilities and ambition to enable the combined bank to pursue exciting strategic opportunities in Zambia.

“Our customers will benefit from greater security offered by one of the most capitalised banks in the country, increased scale in Zambia, access to a broader digital and retail offering, and a geographic network across the continent. We look forward to working closely with Access Bank to deliver the benefits of the merger to all the stakeholders.” Shareholders should note that the cautionary announcement dated July 8, 2020 is hereby withdrawn and shareholders are no longer required to exercise caution when dealing in the group’s shares in relation to the potential transaction.”

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FIRS Says All Illegal Stamp Duty Fees Collected By NIPOST Will Be Recovered

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‘All Illegal Stamp Duty Fees Collected By NIPOST Will Be Recovered’ Says FIRS

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has responded to the allegation levied against its body by the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) over the printing and sales of Stamp Duty to the public.

FIRS Nigeria, in a tweet titled ‘‘That Vexed NIPOST Tweet by Mrs. Maimuna Abubakar’’ responded to an earlier tweet by Maimuna Abubakar, the chairperson, NIPOST.

FIRS stated that normally it would not have responded to the tweet but given the sensitivity of the situation, it must, therefore, respond in order not to mislead the public.

Part of the Tweets read “NIPOST is a government parastatal established by Decree 41 of 1992 with the function to *develop, promote, and provide adequate and efficiently co-ordinated postal services at reasonable rates*.”

“This function is clearly contrary to the claim by NIPOST over the administration of stamp duties in Nigeria. On the other hand, the FIRS is the sole agency of government charged with the responsibility of *assessing, collecting, and accounting for all tax types including Stamp Duties*.”

FIRS, therefore, said all illegal funds collected by NIPOST for stamp duty will be recovered to the last kobo in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s inaugurated Inter-ministerial committee, on the recovery of stamp duties from 2016 till date.

The tweet also noted that “In addition, anyone found culpable of misappropriating the funds in the said illegal NIPOST Stamp Duties Account would be made to face the law as provisioned by the country’s statute books.’’

‘‘The public is hereby reminded that we at the FIRS are resolute in our resolve to safeguard national interests and not any personal ego or interest as NIPOST officials appear to carry on lately.’’

A recap to what Mrs. Maimuna Abubarka tweeted on Sunday August 2, 2020 on her twitter handle at @reg_ng. says that “I am worried for NIPOST, having sleepless night because of NIPOST, we need the general public to come to our aid, FIRS stole our mandate FIRS are now selling stamps instead of buying from us.’’

“What is happening, are we expected to keep quiet and let FIRS kill and bury NIPOST? We need to get our mandate back.”

“NIPOST are the sole custodians of national stamps, another agency printing and selling stamps is against the law/ of the land.”

Abubakar also added that “FIRS did not only steal our stamps but also our ideas, what NIPOST had worked for since 2016, our documents, patent and sneaked everything into finance bill and tactically removed the name of NIPOST.’’

“I like to make this clear, NIPOST is the only agency charged with the responsibility of producing adhesive stamps and revenue for the for the purchase of such stamp accrues to NIPOST.”

“There is no where in FIRS act or stamp duty act where it’s so stated that FIRS can produce stamp or sale stamp.”

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FCMB Grows Profit by 29 Percent to N9.7bn in H1 2020

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FCMB Posts 29 Percent Increase in PAT to N9.7bn in H1 2020

FCMB Group Plc has said its profit before tax expanded by 26 percent in the first half of the year ended June 30, 2020.

The lender grew profit before tax from N8.8 billion reported in the same period of 2019 to N11.1 billion in the period under review.

The lender disclosed this in a statement on “FCMB Group records impressive half year results as profit before tax rose by 26 per cent to N11.1bn,” released on Tuesday.

Profit after tax grew by 29 percent year-on-year to N9.7 billion in the first half of the year despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

This, according to the lender, translated to a 9.4 percent return on average equity and 49 kobo earnings per share, an increase of 16 percent and 29 percent year-on-year, respectively.

It explained that FCMB Group comprises of commercial and retail banking (First City Monument Bank Limited, Credit Direct Limited, FCMB (UK) Limited and FCMB Microfinance Bank Limited).

The statement noted that the Group has corporate & investment banking (the Corporate Banking Division of the Bank, FCMB Capital Markets Limited and CSL Stockbrokers Limited).

Also, the Group owned the asset & wealth management arms (FCMB Pensions Limited, FCMB Asset Management Limited and FCMB Trustees Limited).

FCMB said, “The half year results also showed that the group recorded an increase in gross revenue by nine per cent to N98.2bn as against N89.8bn for the same period last year.

“Net interest income equally rose by 17 per cent for the first half of 2020 to N45.4bn from N38.7bn posted in the first half of 2019, while non-interest income stood at N17.5bn, an increase of 14 per cent compared to N15.3bn within the six months period last year.”

Lender’s loans and advances rose by 29 percent year-on-year during the period under review and four percent on a quarterly basis to N794.6 billion.
Accordingly, customer deposits jumped up by 28 percent year-on-year to N1.1 trillion in the first half of the year.

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