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Dollar sells for N600 at parallel market

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The dollar exchanged at N600 at the parallel market (black market) in many cities across the country on Monday May 16.

Currency dealers exchanged the naira at N595 and sold within the range of N596 and N600 to a dollar in many places including Uyo, it was learnt.

Abuja black market dealers at Wuse zone 4 said the currency was exchanged at N594 and sold at N595 per $1.

According to FMDQ, where forex is officially traded, the naira which opened trading at N417 closed at N421 to a dollar at the close of business on Monday.

The depreciation of the local currency has heightened fears of a further devaluation of the nation’s currency.

The naira has maintained an average of N416.69 to a dollar since the beginning of the new year.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) does not recognize the parallel market (black market), as it has directed individuals who want to engage in Forex to approach their respective banks.

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Rising Inflation is not peculiar to Nigeria, its a global problem – Emefiele

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Central Bank of Nigeria's (CBN) governor Godwin Emefiele

Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said in Lagos that the current inflationary pressures in the economy is not peculiar to Nigeria.
He said the development is a global trend.

Though he agreed that it raises global concerns, Emefiele said Nigeria is doing its best under the circumstances .
He spoke at the 57th edition of the Banker’s Forum.
He said the steady increase in headline inflation from 15.60 per cent in January to 20.77 per cent in September was consistent with global trends.

The dinner had the theme, “Radical Responses to Abnormal Episodes: Time for Innovative Decision-making” was appropriate and well timed.

He also said headline inflation went up to 20.77 per cent in September, indicating eight consecutive months of uptick.
He added that the upward momentum was after a successive period of decline in 2021, due to balanced monetary policy actions.

He said upside pressure on consumer inflation re-emerged during the year, as global conditions complicated existing local imbalances to undermine price stability.

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“Food remains the major component of domestic consumer price basket. The annualised uptick in headline inflation mirrors the 6.21 percentage points upsurge in food inflation to 23.34 per cent in September.

“During this period, core inflation also resumed an upward movement from 13.87 per cent in January to 17.60 per cent.

“In addition to harsh global spill overs, exchange rate adjustments and imported inflation; inflation was also driven by local factors such as farmer herder clashes in parts of the food belt region,” he said.

Emefiele said that during the early part of 2020, the world’s economy experienced the most significant downturn last witnessed since the Great Depression following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the effect contracted global GDP by about 3.1 per cent in 2020, and commodity prices went into a state of turmoil as the price of crude oil plunged by over 70 per cent.

He said as the world struggled to recover to pre-pandemic conditions, the global economy was yet again hit by another adverse occurrence with the eruption of the Russian-Ukraine war.

He said the war, along with the sanctions placed on Russia by the US and its allies, led to a spike in crude oil prices.

He said in the attempt to contain rising inflation, advanced markets such as the US, began to increase their policy rates, which led to a tightening of global financial market conditions along with a significant outflow of funds from emerging markets.

“The subsequent strengthening of the US dollar further aggravated inflationary pressures, along with a weakening of currencies, and depletion of external reserves in many emerging market countries.

“Today close to 80 per cent of countries have reported heightened inflationary pressures due to a confluence of some of the factors mentioned above,” said Emefiele.

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He explained that central banks in emerging markets and developing economies, in a bid to contain rising inflation were also compelled to raise rates, which was expected to lead to a tapering of global growth over the next year.

“In fact, the short-term global growth projections by the IMF have been downgraded three times in 2022 and is likely to be below the 3.2 per cent and 2.7 per cent estimates for 2022 and 2023, respectively.

“Average growth among advanced economies is projected to plunge from 5.2 per cent in 2021 to 2.4 per cent in 2022 and 1.1 per cent in 2023.“Estimated output growth in emerging markets, is expected to slow from 6.6 per cent in 2021 to 3.7 per cent apiece in 2022 and 2023,” he said.

He said in view of the food, energy, and cost-of-living crises in many countries, there were growing restrictions on food exports from many countries.

“As at the last count, about 23 countries, mainly in advanced economies, according to the World Bank have banned the export of 33 food items. “Seven other countries have additionally implemented various measures to limit food exports,” said Emefiele.

On currency redesign, Emefiele said, “Analysis of the key challenges primarily indicated a significant hoarding of banknotes, as over 85 per cent of currency in circulation were held outside banking system.

“This is even as currency in circulation more than doubled from N1.46 trillion in December 2015 to N3.23 trillion in September 2022; a worrisome trend that must be curbed.”

He, therefore, said the policy would quicken the attainment of cashless economy as it was complemented by increased minting of the eNaira.

According to him, the redesigned notes will also curtail currency outside the banking system, and as the monetary policy becomes more effective, it will help rein in inflation.

CIBN president, Dr Ken Opara, commended Emefiele, saying he had during the year, continued to be purposeful in curtaining economic shocks from the aftermath of the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He commended him for keeping inflation and other related economy indices, especially the naira, from distortions exacerbated by declining production levels fueled by high cost of production, insecurity, dwindling government revenues, foreign exchange volatility and uncertainty in the global oil market.

Opara said, “through the careful management of the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), the CBN continued to drive the recovery path of the Nigerian economy through the expansion of credit to the real sector, guided management of foreign reserves and promoting sound financial environment and monetary policy.”

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Innoson makes history, exports Nigeria-assembled vehicles to Sierra Leone 

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Nigeria’s indigenous vehicle manufacturing company, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Ltd, has delivered the first set of vehicles manufactured for the Government of Sierra Leone as ordered by the country’s Ministry of Defence.

This is in fulfilment of a promise made during a working visit to Innoson Vehicles by top hierarchy of the Sierra Leone Defence Ministry led by Mr. Edward Soloku, the Minister of Internal Affairs as well as Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation (SLRTC) led by its President Mr. Isaac Ken-Green.

Head of Corporate Communications, Innoson Group, Cornel Osigwe, said in a statement that various models of vehicles bought within that dispensation were for the present administration.

Osigwe explained that subsequently, the Government of Sierra Leone led by President Julius Maada Bio placed an order for the manufacturing of Innoson Vehicles valued at $4.7Million for the officers of Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF).

The first set of the vehicles supplied from Nigeria to Sierra Leone were as Monday leaving Queen Elizabeth 2 Port (Sierra Leone’s sea Port “Water Quay”) in Free Town for distribution to military officers across the country.

Reacting to the development, the people of Sierra Leone have been commending their President, Julius Maada Bio, for acting in line with the spirit of the continental agreement by opting for an African (IVM) brand of vehicles for the use of the country’s Armed Forces.

In one of the many reports in the local media on the purchase of the made-in-Nigeria vehicles, a popular blog in Sierra Leone, Focus News Blog, hailed President Bio for believing “that our Army Officers deserve better.”

The post, which showed a line-up of the IVM products from Nigeria, informed Sierra Leoneans that the vehicles would soon be “ready for distribution to military officers across the country” by the government

“Innoson Group has penetrated the vehicles market over the years. It is currently serving as one of the few wholly African car assemblers.

One of the effusive commendations for President Bio by a Sierra Leonean, Francis Ken Samu, remarked, “We are on top of the situation in times of security. Bravo HE President Bio. Keep the Military Colour Flag going up higher than ever before in de history of Sierras Leone.. God bless you, HE President Bio for equipping the RSLAF.”

This development is indeed a step towards the acceleration of intra-African trade as facilitated by the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA).

With the arrival of the Innoson vehicles in Free Town, Sierra Leone has become the first country in West Africa whose armed forces are using the IVM products outside Nigeria.

Four years ago, the Nigerian Army signed a partnership agreement with the Nnewi auto plant for the supply of purpose-built vehicles for its personnel.

The agreement also includes identifying requirements for the production of the armoured fighting vehicle in Nigerian Army Central Workshop in Kaduna and enhancing the capacity of Nigerian Army personnel to actively participate in the successful implementation of these joint ventures

The export of Innoson is coming two years after President Mohammadu Buhari signed the AfCFTA agreement in July, 2019.

 

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New naira: CBN, EFCC to track large withdrawals

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The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele has said that it would work with law enforcement agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, to complicate and track large withdrawals.

He said this while briefing the press after the launch the new Naira banknotes in Abuja on Wednesday.

At the briefing, Emefiele said that the amount of money that can be withdrawn from the counter would be reduced drastically, adding that bulk withdrawals would require several procedures and security checks to track use.

He said this would ensure a steady transition into a cashless economy.

“There is no economy imbued with the thinking that it has to be a cash economy; the world has moved from predominantly cash to a cashless economy. And I think Nigeria and the Central Bank of Nigeria are prepared to move towards a cashless economy. And that is why following the redesign and issuance of this note, we will insist that cashless will be nationwide.

“We will restrict the volume of cash that people can withdraw over the counter. If you need to draw large volumes of cash, you will fill out uncountable forms; we will take your data, whether it’s your BVN or NIN so that our law enforcement agencies like EFCC and ICPC can follow you and be sure that you are taking that money for a good purpose.”

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He also noted that this move alongside the redesigned notes would ensure that the apex bank has ample control over the amount of money in circulation.

The CBN Governor further argued that the new move is not targeted at anyone while noting that the past attempts to redesign the naira notes were resisted.

According to him, “The Central Bank of Nigeria, by law, has the mandate to reissue and redesign currency for the country, and for Nigerian people, every five to eight years. And I want to hope that after the event of today, the Central Bank of Nigeria can take it as part of its programmes to see that the currencies are designed or reissued every five to eight years.

“It is mainly because the central bank should be able to control the size of currency in circulation fully. That is the actual mandate of the Central Bank of Nigeria because it has implications for monetary policy management in the country.

“There is no need for anybody to think this program is targeted at anyone. Like you heard the President, he said, this discussion to redesign and reissue currency started early in the year.”

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), said the naira notes are long overdue for a change as the current tender has been in circulation for nearly 20 years.

This was as he said the newly redesigned notes have unique security features that make them difficult to counterfeit.

Buhari said this when he launched the new Naira banknotes at the council chamber of the State House, Abuja, shortly before the kick-off of this week’s Federal Executive Council meeting.

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According to a statement signed by Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari also expressed delight that the redesigned currencies were locally produced by the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting PLC.

Speaking at the launch of the new banknotes, the President noted that international best practice requires central banks and national authorities to issue new or redesigned currency notes every five to eight years.

He lamented that it is almost 20 years since the last major redesign of the country’s local currency was done.

‘‘This implies that the Naira is long overdue to wear a new look.

“A cycle of banknote redesign is generally aimed at achieving specific objectives, including but not limited to: improving the security of banknotes, mitigating counterfeiting, preserving the collective national heritage, controlling currency in circulation, and reducing the overall cost of currency management,” he said.

He added that “the new Naira banknotes have been fortified with security features that make them difficult to counterfeit.’’

Explaining why he approved the redesign, the President said there is an urgent need to control the amount of currency in circulation.

Punch

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