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Naira’s Fall: CBN Moves Against Banks For Hoarding $5Billion

Apex bank deploys monitors in DMBs to enforce compliance with extant rules. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) hit the nail on the head yesterday.

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Apex bank deploys monitors in DMBs to enforce compliance with extant rules. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) hit the nail on the head yesterday.

It accused commercial banks of hoarding over $5 billion in foreign currencies against the threshold approved by the apex bank.

CBN blamed the prevailing forex scarcity and naira’s free-fall against the dollar on the actions of the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs).

The accusation came a day after the apex bank expressed concern about banks’ excessive forex exposure.

At the close of the market yesterday, the naira exchanged N1,450/$ at the parallel market.

It was a substantial gain (N70) against the dollar, having closed on Wednesday at N1, 520/$.

Erring banks have till to set by the CBN.

“Consequently, the CBN has mandated these banks to release any excess foreign currency they hold to individuals and businesses in need of foreign exchange by today’s deadline.

“Failure to comply with this directive will result in sanctions in accordance with existing rules and regulations.”

To show how serious the CBN is about this directive, the official said that “teams of examiners have been deployed to all commercial banks heavily engaged in FX transactions to monitor compliance with the directive.”

The CBN has moved to address the biting scarcity of foreign currency.

By releasing the surplus foreign currency, it is expected that the market will experience increased liquidity, and subsequently alleviate the strain on naira’s value, it was learnt.

Initial market response to the CBN directive, the official said, can be described as mixed.

Some banks have swiftly adhered to the directive, ensuring they meet the deadline for releasing the excess dollars.

The approach is seen as a positive step towards easing the pressure on the naira and promoting a more favourable exchange rate.

On the other hand, some financial institutions, the source said, “are cautious about revealing their exact dollar reserves and are treading carefully before fully complying”.

Their hesitation might stem from concerns about potential disruption to their operations and the potential impact on their customers.

“Just as some Nigerians prefer to keep their money in dollars because the naira is not a good store of value, banks also hold excess dollar liquidity to make gains. They do their own at the institutional level.

“What the CBN is saying with this new circular is that you cannot hold excess dollar liquidity again.

“Any foreign exchange you are holding must be committed to something, a transaction or obligation you can prove.

“Banks have made a lot of revaluation gains. Some banks, I believe, got approval under the last administration to hold more dollars than the requirement.

“The idea is that if banks sell all these excess dollars, there will be liquidity and the exchange rate will stabilise. Foreign investors will come in,” the top banker explained.

The source added: “The CBN remains resolute in its stance and all banks must cooperate to stabilise the naira and address the foreign currency shortage.

“The apex bank aims to ensure adequate foreign exchange supply for critical sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, and essential imports.”

What the expert says:

Dr. Wahab Balogun of Ambosit Capital Managers sees potential benefits and drawbacks in the CBN directive.

He said: “While increased FX liquidity and a stabilised Naira are desirable, managing potential disruptions to banks, inflation, and other sectors is crucial.

“Careful monitoring, adjustments, and communication from the CBN and banks will be vital for navigating the complexities of this intervention and achieving its intended positive outcomes.”

Balogun highlighted the positive implications of the development to include: increased FX liquidity as releasing excess foreign currency into the market can alleviate the current shortage, leading to smoother transactions and potentially stabilizing the naira’s exchange rate.

He argued that “businesses reliant on foreign exchange, especially critical sectors like manufacturing and agriculture, could benefit from easier access to funds for imports and operations”.

The directive to the banks by the CBN, he noted, will encourage “banks to adhere to regulations and avoid excessive foreign currency holdings, potentially promoting a more efficient and transparent FX market in the long run.”

“Addressing the FX shortage and stabilizing the Naira can contribute to overall financial stability, boosting investor confidence and economic activity.”

On the negative side, Balogun stated that releasing large amounts of foreign currency might cause temporary operational challenges for banks, which in turn would impact their liquidity and financial ratios.

He said: “Banks earn income through foreign exchange transactions, and a sudden decrease in their holdings could affect their profitability. Most importantly, increased liquidity could fuel inflation if not managed carefully, especially if demand for goods and services rises faster than supply.

Balogun noted that “the sector’s heavy reliant on a weaker naira (e.g., exports) could face challenges if the exchange rate strengthens significantly and the reaction of foreign investors and speculators to the increased FX liquidity could influence the exchange rate and market stability”.

 

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Lagos Agog As Olusegun Aderiye Marks 70th Birthday Anniversary In Style

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The mega city of Lagos was thrown into celebration mood as an Erudite Scholar and a quintessential broadcast journalist Rev. Dr. Olusegun Aderiye celebrated his 70th PLATINUM jubilee anniversary and book launch in style.

The event which took place on Wednesday February 14th 2024 at Airport Ikeja Lagos stated with a Public Lecture titled, “The Imperative of Peace in a Troubled World” taken by Amb. (Dr) Martins Uhomoibhi (Fmr PS, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigeria) and the formal unveiling of: “Journey to Stardom” An Autobiography of the celebrant.

Rev Dr. Olusegun Solomon Aderiye was born on 14 February in Ekiti State, then Western Region, Nigeria.

He attended Methodist Primary School, Apaara, Oyo, 1958, Ifaki Grammar School, 1968-72, University of Lagos, 1977 and University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) 1981.

Olusegun was the Chief State House Correspondent, Nigerian Television Authority, 1985-89; Head, Current Affairs Department, African Independent Television, since 1998; Secretary, Nigerian Television Authority Ibadan Chapel.

He was a co-author of ECOMOG, Gabumo Publishing, Lagos in 1992.

Dr. Aderiye Creative Works includes Kilo Ndan Bi Wura, 1978, Awamaridi, 1979, Maje Nse 1981, My Lord is Good, 1983, What only God can do, 2023.

His National Awards are Nigeria Television Authority’s Reporter of the Year, 1983 and Nigeria Union of Journalists, since 1978.

 

The special guest of honour of the event was General Ibrahim Babangida GCFR (Former President of Nigeria) and Chief Bode George (Former Military Governor of Ondo State).

Dignitaries present at the event were Lagos state Governor ably represented by his commissioner of information and strategy Gbenga Omotoso, Speaker, Lagos State House of representative represented by one of the honourable members of the house, Steve Ogundipe.

Others were (Dr) Martin Uhomoibhi. Amb (Dr) Yemi Farounbi, Nigeria’s former Ambassador to the Philippines. The event was indeed an array of who is who in Nigeria.

 

The chairman in his remark describes the celebrant as a fine gentleman and a highly efficient, courageous and diligent media practitioner with a high sense of national patriotism and an unrepentant nationalist in broadcast journalism.

He prayed that God Almighty should continue to shower Dr. Aderiye with divine wisdom, guidance, good health, protection, prosperity and longevity, so he could continue to contribute his quota to national development in the years ahead.

Dr. Aderiye in his speech appreciates his lovely wife who shared the same birthday with him Deaconess Mary Kehinde Oluwakemi and family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances both in the physical and spiritual realms for their love, friendship and kind support all through these years.

He also thanks the VIPs, relations, friends and acquaintances who have come to honour his invitation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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London Operation: Air Peace, Norse Atlantic Sign ACMI Agreement On Charter

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Norse Atlantic Airways, yesterday, announced that it entered into an agreement with Air Peace for an ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, and Insurance) charter service.

This collaboration, according to the statement made available to LEADERSHIP, marks the beginning of a strategic partnership aimed at providing seamless air travel solutions between London and Lagos, Nigeria.

Commencing in April 2024, the ACMI charter will operate four times a week, offering travellers convenient and reliable transportation options between these key destinations.

Norse Atlantic Airways will be using slots at London Gatwick allocated to Air Peace to facilitate this new route.

“We are thrilled to be working with Air Peace to launch this ACMI charter service between London Gatwick and Lagos. This collaboration represents an exciting opportunity to leverage our expertise in charter operations to deliver a reliable and high-quality service to Air Peace and their customers,” said Bjørn Tore Larsen, CEO and Founder of Norse Atlantic Airways.

“Air Peace is delighted to have signed this partnership deal with Norse Atlantic Airways for the commencement of our London service. As we make a foray into the European market, we are confident that this strategic partnership will further position us to surpass the expectations of our customers, offering them superior air travel experience while we continue to optimise our operations for more innovative service delivery”, stated Allen Onyema, Chairman/CEO, Air Peace.

Norse Atlantic and Air Peace will continue to discuss potential longer-term partnerships between the two airlines to explore avenues for further collaboration and expansion in the future.

 

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N30bn To Govs: ‘My Statement Unverified’, Akpabio Recants

“The President of the Senate recognizes and appreciates the current efforts of the governors at ameliorating the adverse effects of the current inclement socio-economic environment and therefore invites more hands on the plow to complement the renewed hope agenda.”

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President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has recanted his claim that state governors received an additional N30 billion from the Federal Government to address the biting economic hardship in the country by the distribution of palliatives to Nigerians.

Recall that Akpabio made the claim on Wednesday, February 22 while the Senate considered the report of its joint Committees on Finance, Agriculture/Food Sufficiency, Banking and Insurance.

The committee had interfaced with the economic management team of the government, led by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun, to find out what the government had done to tackle hunger, food inflation, a free-falling naira exchange rate to the US dollar, among others.

In the course of deliberations on the matter by senators, Akpabio had repeatedly stated without mincing word that each state governor received an additional N30bn from the centre to address the challenges, besides the regular allocations the states draw from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC).

“Each of the 36 states received N30bn; they received N30bn”, he kept saying.

However, 24 hours later, governors began refuting the claim.

Prominent among them was the Governor of Akpabio’s own state, Akwa Ibom, Pastor Umo Eno, who not only said such an amount was not received by the state but also added that it was possible the Senate President was speaking with prophetic expectations.

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State also said much, dismissing Akpabio’s claim.

On Monday night, Akpabio’s office finally summoned the courage to recant his statement, saying that he acted on unverified information.

His Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Hon. Eseme Eyiboh, in a statement on Monday night, appealed for calm, saying that Akpabio held the governors in high esteem.

Eyiboh’s full statement is reproduced below: “The office of the President of the Senate has been drawn to various misconceptions in the public domain on the statement credited to the President of the Senate in plenary of Wednesday, February 21, 2024, during the presentation of a report of the joint Committees on Finance, Agriculture/Food Sufficiency, Banking and Insurance. During the session the President of the Senate commented on the payment of an unverified cumulative sum of about N30b to the sub-national governments by the Federal Government for various interventions to ameliorate the food situation of our citizens at the sub-national governments.

“The unfortunate conjectures to take away the kernel in the material facts of FAAC payment are rather regretted. In considering the well-intended motive of urging state governments to collaborate with the Federal government of President Bola Tinubu to facilitate strategic interventions to mitigate the prevailing economic situation in the country remains the underpinning motivation in the comment.

“The President of the Senate is not oblivious to the fact that State governments are functional partners in all the efforts of the current administration of President Bola Tinubu and are also valuable Stakeholders’ in the various legislative engagements of the legislature in creating the nexus between the legislature and the people.

“The President of the Senate has always demonstrated commitment to team building and shall not do less in the circumstance. He therefore urges the sub-national governments not to be distracted by any misunderstanding of the context and true meaning of the statement.

“The President of the Senate recognizes and appreciates the current efforts of the governors at ameliorating the adverse effects of the current inclement socio-economic environment and therefore invites more hands on the plow to complement the renewed hope agenda.”

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