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Remove Economic Subsidies, ABCON Tells FG

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A money changer holds Turkish lira banknotes next to U
  • Remove Economic Subsidies, ABCON Tells FG

The Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria has called for elimination of fuel and foreign exchange subsidies in order to address structural defects in the economy.

The association made this call in its quarter economic review report for the second quarter of 2019.

In the report, it said these subsidies represent structural defects in the nation’s economy.

Speaking at the presentation of the report, the President, ABCON, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, said, “The subsidies are misapplications which have resulted into creation of economic rents in various dimensions, as well as maladjustments in sectoral business structures, creating hyper unemployment rates which had triggered unmanageable social unrest like kidnappings, terrorism, banditry, armed robberies and large scale cultism among others.

“We recommend that government should consider the following: Policy of single exchange rate to completely remove foreign exchange economic rent and subsidy for a medium and long term adjustment of the economy from distortions occasioned by decades of subsidy.

“We must observe that we have an inefficient structural system to track surreptitious flow of foreign exchange within the platforms notwithstanding, that the morals to control are lacking.

“This head of a hydra of fuel subsidy issue should be addressed headlong by critically re-organising the sub-sector including deregulation and decentralisation of fuel importation to ensure competition which is necessary to guarantee fair price.”

Stressing the need to tackle the challenge of youth and graduate unemployment, ABCON called for an extension of the National Youth Service Corp period from one year to two years, with provision to allow discharge after one year if employment had been secured.

The association commended the Federal Government for signing the Africa continental Free Trade Agreement, but called for measures to enhance the competitiveness of local industries to maximise the benefits of the agreement for the economy.

ABCON also welcomed the proposed consolidation of the banking sector with new minimum capital requirements, describing it as, “a necessity that will help in reducing the impact of non-performing loans on Capital Adequacy Ratio of banks and thus enhance their capacity to lend to the economy.”

Speaking on ABCON’s efforts to enhance stability in the foreign exchange market, Gwadabe said that the association would leverage on its partnership with the Nigerian Diaspora Commission to harness the potential of the diaspora remittance to enhance foreign exchange inflow and economic development.

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 experience in the global financial markets.

Finance

Total Currency in Circulation Increased by N56.44bn in September

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Central Bank

Currency in Circulation Rose by N56.44bn in the Month of September to N2.426 trillion

The total currency in circulation increased to N2.426 trillion in the month of September, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) report has shown.

In the report released on Wednesday, the apex bank said the total currency in circulation stood at N2.369 trillion as of the end of August.

The amount then rose by N56.44 billion in September to N2.426 trillion.

A further breakdown of the report revealed that currency in circulation declined by 6 percent in the first quarter of the year to N2.29 trillion, about 7.5 percent below the same quarter of 2019.

The figure stood at N2.35 trillion in May, then rose to N2.39 trillion by the end of July.

While reserve money expanded by 5.9 percent to N12.96 trillion when compared to a 20.7 percent growth recorded in April 2020.

The report also noted that at N10.61 trillion, liabilities to other depository corporations grew 70.5 percent above the previous month’s growth rate of 59.7 percent.

The report said, “The heightened uncertain outlook due to the lockdown encouraged more cash to be held by the public.

“This was evident from the increase in currency in circulation, compared with the level in the preceding month.

“Currency in circulation rose by two per cent to N2.35tn at the end of May 2020, compared with the increase of 0.5 per cent at the end of April 2020.”

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Finance

CBN Directs Banks to go After COVID-19 Financial Criminals

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Godwin Emefile

Central Bank Asks Banks to Stay Abreast Frauds and Rising COVID-19 Financial Crimes

The Central Bank of Nigeria has directed all financial institutions in Nigeria to update alert protocols in their Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism monitoring tools, in accordance with emerging trends of rising COVID-19 related financial crimes.

In a circular titled, ‘Administrative letters to all banks and other financial institutions’ issued on Monday and signed by J.M. Gana, the Director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department, the apex bank said changes in business activities and financial transactions due to the shift caused by COVID-19 pandemic have led to the surge in financial crimes globally.

Therefore, it said financial institutions must now adapt quickly and keep abreast of the new emerging financial risks and other developments to arrest this new and emerging ML/TF.

According to the circular, this includes strategic investment in data mining and artificial intelligence software to monitor financial transactions effectively and report as quickly as possible.

The central bank said the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, the central repository of suspicious transactions and other financial information, had released a comprehensive report on STRs and others.

It stated that the NFIU had identified cybercrimes, frauds, counterfeiting and substandard goods, diversion of public funds and misuse of non-government organisations funds as some of the ongoing crimes that banks across the nation need to stay abreast and report.

Other suspicious transactions and red flags identified in the report were some e-commerce companies with little or zero history or internet presence suddenly receiving multiple payments from unrelated third parties.

Similarly, it said individuals with zero or little history of financial transactions receiving multiple payments from unrelated third parties. It also noted that customers who suddenly start delaying in the supply or purchases of medical supplies and payment of goods linked to known brands, yet the beneficiary is an individual, not a corporate company should be flagged.

The measures, the apex bank said were necessary due to the rising numbers of unusual transactions from banks’ customers and unscrupulous individuals.

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Union Bank Secures US$40 Million Facility from IFC Global Trade Finance

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Union Bank Secures US$40 Million Facility from IFC Global Trade Finance

Union Bank of Nigeria Plc said it has secured a US$40,000,000 finance guarantee facility from the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group.

In a note to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the lender said the facility would help boost access to finance for local businesses and enable increased international trade for Nigeria.

It explained that the facility “will support Union Bank to establish working partnerships with nearly 300 major international banks within the GTFP network, thereby broadening access to finance and reducing cash collateral requirements for Nigerian businesses.

“The facility will enable the continued flow of trade credit into the Nigerian market at a time when imports are critical, and the country’s exports can generate much-needed foreign exchange.

Under the IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program (GTFP) terms of the agreement, GTFP offers benefiting banks partial or full guarantees covering payment risk on Union Bank’s trade-related transactions.

Accordingly, these guarantees are transaction-specific and may vary depending on underlying instruments like letters of credit, trade-related promissory notes, guarantees, bonds, and advance payment guarantees.”

Emeka Emuwa, Chief Executive Officer of Union Bank, said, “Union Bank is pleased to join the IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program. This is a significant achievement as we continue to expand our trade financing offerings to our
customers. Even in these peculiar times, we remain focused on contributing to economic growth by developing tailored solutions that help our customers harness the teeming opportunities that still exist in the Nigerian market.

Eme Essien Lore, IFC’s Country Manager for Nigeria, said, “Keeping trade moving is essential to growth and job creation, especially during the challenging economic times we are living through today. We welcome Union Bank to IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program and value a partnership that will make a positive impact on Nigeria’s economy.

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