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Nigeria’s External Reserves Hit $40.76bn

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Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves gained $3.98bn in three weeks, rising above the $40bn mark, the Central Bank of Nigeria has said.

External reserves are a nation’s backup funds in case of an emergency, such as a rapid devaluation of its currency.

According to CBN data, the reserves rose to $40.76bn on October 20 from $36.78bn as of the end of September.

The reserves, which had maintained a growth trajectory in recent weeks, rose by $2.76bn in September from $34.02bn at the end of August.

Former director-general, National Centre for Economic Management and Administration, Ibadan and professor of economics, Mike Obadan, said the value of a country’s currency is determined by the strength of the economy in terms of its production capacity and productivity, structure, and diversification of the export production base.

Obadan said, “a vibrant and diversified productive real sector of the economy saves a nation the disbursement of scarce foreign exchange for the import of finished goods and production inputs, especially where these could be produced locally, and reduces pressure on foreign exchange demand.

“In the same way, an export-oriented production base contributes substantially to foreign exchange supply which in turn strengthens the local currency.

“But in Nigeria, these desired attributes have not been achieved. Hence, the heavy dependence of the country on the oil sector for foreign exchange and government revenue creates instability in the naira exchange rate.”

According to him, there is a direct correlation between the oil market and the naira exchange rate.

“When the oil market is enjoying a boom, other things being equal, the naira exchange rate strengthens/appreciates. But when there is a slump in the market, characterised by low prices, accretion to external reserves drops and the naira exchange rate depreciate,” Obadan said.

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Finance

N20M Bailout Fund: Yaya Bello Gives EFCC 48-Hour Ultimatum To Apologise

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The Kogi State Government has given a 48-hour ultimatum to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to apologise over comments that the state hide N20 billion bailout fund meant to pay salaries in a commercial bank.

In a briefing on Sunday in Lagos, the Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo, said the state government did not open or create the said account.

“I want to assure you that after 48 hours from today, if they refuse to retract their ill-fated, false, politically motivated, irresponsible press statement, we will drag them to court,” the commissioner said.

The commissioner equally challenged the anti-graft agency to produce the account mandate and details of those who operated the account.

This is even as the Kogi State Government said it has gotten the bank’s response which exonerated them from running the account.

According to the state, the government has enough evidence against the EFCC to have a field day in court.

“The Kogi State government does not currently operate or maintain a fixed-deposit account with Sterling Bank.

“There is no mandate letter from the Kogi State Government to open account number 0073572696 with Sterling Bank. Sterling Bank account 0073572696 is an internal mirror account operated by the bank for purposes of managing the Kogi State Salary Bailout facility,” Fanwo added.

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Finance

FG To Support States With N656bn

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The Federal Government has approved support the the 36 states of the federation with the sum of N656 billion to bridge financing facility.

This was disclosed at the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday.

Each of the state governments will receive the sum of N18.225 billion to help in meeting financial obligations, especially the previous budget support facility due for repayment. 

The states will be required to repay the latest loan with a 30-year tenor and a two-year moratorium at an interest rate of nine per cent.  

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, had informed the council that the bridge facility is now being processed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). 

The money will be disbursed in six tranches over a period of six months to the states. 

She affirmed that the facility is to help the states afford the repayment of previous bailout facilities guaranteed for them by the Federal Government. 

At the July meeting of the council, the finance minister had informed that deductions from state governments would soon commence as repayment for the previous bailout from the CBN. 

Subsequently, the states sought further support leading to the idea of bridge financing. A statement issued by the spokesman of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, also said at the meeting, the Executive Director/CEO of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, briefed the members on the status of the country’s COVID-19 vaccine roll-out. 

He noted that Nigeria had received over 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, African Union and othes, which, he said, was sufficient to ramp up vaccination for about 50 per cent of the targeted population. 

According to him, the total eligible population of Nigerians for the vaccine is over 111 million. “Given the availability of vaccines, we have started rolling out a plan to vaccinate 50 per cent of Nigerians, 18 years and above by January 31, 2022,” the NPHCDA DG said, adding that there would be a scaling up of over 3,000 health facilities nationwide. 

In his presentation to the council on state performance report on COVID-19, Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, said Nigerians must continue to maintain and sustain the COVID-19 response, especially as it enters the holiday period where there will be anticipated travels within and outside the country, as well as mass events. 

Adetifa said the country should “maintain visibility of the outbreak by testing, continuing to encourage adherence to public health and social measures, encourage vaccination and address vaccine hesitancy.”

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Again, CBN Orders Banks To Close Accounts Trading Cryptocurrency

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has ordered all Nigerian commercial banks to freeze the accounts of certain individuals for allegedly trading in cryptocurrency.

This is contained in a Post-No-Debit circular signed on November 3 by the Director of Banking Supervision, J. Y. Mammanand addressed to the banks.

“You are hereby directed to close accounts of the underlisted bank customers and place the funds in the accounts in suspense accounts for engaging in cryptocurrency trading in contravention of CBN Circular BSD/DIR/PUB/014/001 dated February 5, 2021.”

The listed accounts belong to two individuals, Nnamdi Francis Okereke and Nwaorgu Kingsley Chibuzor, and a company called TVS Hallmark Service Limited.

In February, the apex bank ordered banks and other financial institutions to close all customer accounts used in trading cryptocurrencies and other related transactions.

In a circular obtained by Grassroots.ng the CBN ordered deposit money banks, non-bank financial institutions and other financial institutions to “identify persons and/or entities transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges within their systems and ensure that such accounts are closed immediately.”

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