- External Reserves Hit two-week Low as Naira Weakens
The country’s external reserves fell to a two-week low and the naira eased on the black market on Friday after the Central Bank of Nigeria pledged to step up dollar sales.
This came just as the CBN said it would announce a new exchange rate for Bureau De Change Operators next week, Reuters reported.
The central bank had on Tuesday set a rate of N362/dollar for the BDC operators to sell the greenback to customers, an 11 per cent rise over the 399 it set in January.
The CBN has been selling the dollars on the official market in order to narrow the spread with the black market rate, which was quoted at a record low of N520 per dollar a month ago.
On Friday, the black market naira rate, which has firmed 17 per cent since last month due to central bank dollar sales on the official market aimed at narrowing the spread, eased by 1.8 per cent to 390/dollar, Thomson Reuters data showed.
The naira held its level at 306.35 to the dollar after the central bank sold $1.5m on the spot market.
The CBN had on Thursday said it would increase the amount it was offering to the BDCs to $10,000 per member from $8,000, but would announce a new rate on April 3.
Traders said the new rate announcement had created uncertainty and caused the naira to trade weaker on the black market.
But dollar buffers have started to decline. Traders estimate that the bank has sold more than $1bn in currency forwards since last month to boost liquidity.
The external reserves, which have risen by 16.1 per cent since the start of the year, stood at $30.29bn by March 29, but are still far off their peak of $64bn, hit in August 2008, the CBN data showed.
The International Monetary Fund on Thursday urged the Federal Government to lift the remaining foreign exchange restrictions and scrap the system of multiple exchange rates in order to revive the economy.
Economic and financial experts said they were not sure if the CBN would continue to intervene in the market, especially as the price of oil continued to decline slightly in recent times.
Some analysts believe the central bank may not cut further the N360/dollar rate set for the sale of the greenback for invisibles by commercial banks.
Bloomberg Says Nigeria, Congo Are Hotspots for Hunger
Bloomberg Experts Have Said Nigeria and Congo Are Emerging as Hotspots for Hunger
The Democratic Republic of Congo is emerging as the country with the world’s largest food crisis in terms of absolute numbers.
About 21.8 million people in the nation are acutely food insecure, new figures from the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization show. The staggering figure underscores how the fallout from the pandemic is driving up hunger in countries that were already gripped by crisis.
In addition to the Congo, the worst deteriorations in acute hunger in recent months have taken place in Burkina Faso — which has witnessed a nearly 300% uptick in the overall number of people experiencing acute hunger since the start of 2020 — as well as Nigeria, Somalia and the Sudan, the FAO said.
In Nigeria, working the land can be a dangerous occupation because of longstanding religious and ethnic tensions and, more recently, organized crime. That’s as farmers already were having to contend with flooding or drought. It’s all now hitting agriculture just when the country needs it most. The pandemic has triggered a surge in food prices in a nation that imports more than a tenth of its food supply.
With 200 million people, Nigeria is the most populous country in the world’s most food-insecure continent. Producing food at home matters more as importers struggle to access dollars to pay for shipments from overseas after an oil price crash sapped foreign-currency reserves. “We are heading toward famine and starvation,” Niger state Governor Abubakar Sani Bello warned in April.
The challenges come as the world is forecast for a sharp rise in food insecurity because of Covid-19’s impact. As many as 132 million more people globally may fall into the grip of hunger this year, including in many places that used to have relative stability.
NNPC Posts N20.365 Billion Trading Surplus in July
NNPC Declares N20.365 Billion Trading Surplus for July
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) posted an increase in trading surplus to N20.36 billion in the month of July, up from the N2.12 billion surplus achieved in June 2020.
Dr. Kennie Obateru, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, disclosed this while explaining the details of the figures captured in the July 2020 NNPC Monthly Financial and Operations Report (MFOR).
He said the 858 percent overall upswell in performance was largely due to the 178 percent rise in the surplus posted by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), NNPC’s flagship upstream entity.
Obateru further stated that the impressive performance was as a result of the continuous improvement in global crude oil demand for the third consecutive month.
This, he said boosted the corporation’s performance through the 739 percent increase in profit posted by the Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL) and a 51 percent growth recorded by Duke Oil Incorporated, both NNPC companies.
Nigerians to Pay N417.09bn in 4 Months for Electricity Consumption
Electricity Consumers to Pay N419.09bn in 4 Months
Following the recent increase in electricity tariffs, the 11 distribution companies in the country are allowed to collect a total of N417.09bn from their customers from September to December.
The Discos had early this month announced what they called ‘new service reflective tariff’, which took effect from September 1, with the tariffs being charged residential consumers receiving a minimum of 12 hours of power supply rising by over 70 per cent.
The amounts recoverable by the Discos through the allowed end-user tariffs range from 61 per cent to 90 per cent of the total revenue required, according to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.
The tariff shortfall, which is the difference between the Discos’ revenue requirement and the amounts they are allowed to recover from their customers by the regulator, will be funded by the Federal Government.
The media had reported that the Federal Government would fund a tariff shortfall of N104.5bn that will be recorded by the Discos in the four-month period, according to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.
Ikeja Disco is allowed to recover N66.52bn (90 per cent of its total revenue requirement) from September to December, a NERC document showed.
Eko Disco is allowed to recover N48.46bn (86 per cent); Kano Disco, N34.13bn (84 per cent); Abuja Disco, N49.16bn (83 per cent); and Enugu Disco, N38.81bn (82 per cent).
The amounts recoverable by Kaduna Disco is N35.22bn (82 per cent: Ibadan Disco, N54.61bn (78 per cent); Benin Disco, N34.94bn (74 per cent); and Yola Disco, N13.34bn (71 per cent).
Port Harcourt and Jos Discos are allowed to recover N23.63bn (68 per cent) and N18.27bn (61 per cent) respectively.
NERC said the Power Sector Recovery Plan provided for a gradual transition to cost-reflective tariffs with safeguards for the less privileged in the society, adding that full cost-reflective tariffs would be charged by July 2021.
“The Federal Government, under the PSRP Financing Plan, has committed to fund the revenue gap arising from the difference between cost-reflective tariffs determined by the commission and the actual end-user tariffs during the transition to cost-reflective tariffs,” it added.
According to the commission, all the Discos are obligated to settle their market invoices in full as adjusted and netted off by applicable tariff shortfall approved by the commission.
It said the Discos would be liable to relevant penalties/sanctions for failure to meet the minimum remittance requirement in any payment cycle in accordance with the terms of its respective contracts with the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading and the Market Operator, an arm of the Transmission Company of Nigeria.
The Discos only collect an estimated 24 per cent of the tariff revenue, while the balance goes to the TCN, generation companies and other industry stakeholders, according to the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors.
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