Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has warned against further devaluation of the naira and urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to tinker with the exchange rate to reflect the current realities, noting that current exchange rate is artificially low.
He stated this at the opening session of the mid-term ministerial performance review declared opened by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, the currently exchange for the naira makes it difficult to attract foreign investors and Nigeria is unable obtain new dollars.
The naira is currently being exchanged at N565 to a dollar at the parallel market and N411/$ at the official window.
Osinbajo said, “As for the exchange rate, I think we need to move our rates to [be] as reflective of the market as possible. This, in my own respective view, is the only way to improve supply.
“We can’t get new dollars into the system, where the exchange rate is artificially low. And everyone knows by how much our reserves can grow. I’m convinced that the demand management strategy currently being adopted by the CBN needs a rethink and that is just my view.”
The VP expressed confidende that the CBN would be able to address the issues, adding, “All those are issues that when the CBN governor has time to address, he will be able to address in full.”
He also noted that the apex bank was competing the ministries, departments and agencies in fiscal terms, arguing, “There must be synergy between the fiscal and the monetary authority. We must be able to deal with the synergy; we must handle the synergy between the monetary authority, the CBN, and the fiscal side.
“Sometimes, it appears that there is competition, especially on the fiscal side. If you look at some of the interventions, you will find that they should be managed by ministries.
“The ministry of industry, trade and investment should handle MSMEs interventions, and we should know what the CBN is doing. In other words, if the CBN is intervening in the MSME sector, it should be with the full cooperation and consent of the ministry of industry.
Reacting to Osinbajo’s position on the exchange rate and request for the CBN to intervene, a professor of capital market, Uche Uwalake, said, “The first casualty will be the 2022 Appropriation Bill. It means the 2022 budget, which is predicated on N410.15 per dollar is dead on arrival.
“The Vice President obviously means well. But this statement is capable of triggering panic buying and speculation in the forex market (official and parallel) and further complicating things for the CBN. “
“Sometimes you will get people who are benefiting more than once because we simply have no line of sight on what is going on, on one side.”
Davido, Tuface, Ned Nwoko, others on alert as Ferrari recalls nearly every car
Super-rich Nigerians and celebrities who drive Ferrari will have to surrender their Italian luxury sports car to the manufacturer to fix a major problem.
Ferrari has discovered a big stopping problem, with 19 of its models dating back to 2005 reportedly at risk of a potential brake failure, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Some of those known to have the super luxury car in Nigeria are singer Davido; former Arsenal and Super Eagles sensational striker Kanu Nwankwo; rapper and billionaire daughter DJ Cuppy; Ned Nwoko with his Nollywood wife, Reginal Daniels, and another famous ex-Super Eagles player Obafemi Martins.
MotorTrend, an online auto journal, on Monday reported the NHTSA filing as indicating that the issue had to do with the brake fluid reservoir cap which “may not vent properly, creating a vacuum inside the brake fluid reservoir, and resulting in a brake fluid leak that may lead to a partial or total loss of brake function.”
According to the NHTSA recall report, a whopping 23,555 Ferraris are implicated and will need to be serviced.
Owners are expected to receive messages from Ferrari with instructions for proactive repairs before September 24, 2022.
Considering the average price of a Ferrari is at least hundreds of thousand dollars, some quick math proves billions of dollars worth of Ferraris are potentially defective.
The report said Ferrari would replace the brake fluid reservoir cap and update the software in the affected vehicles to provide for a different warning message if the vehicle should lose sufficient brake fluid.
In the meantime, if your Ferrari flashes a “low Brake Fluid” warning, NHTSA directs you to pull off of the road as soon as it is safe to do so and have the car immediately towed to a Ferrari service centre.
Buhari overrules NNPC, approves Seplat’s acquisition of ExxonMobil’s $1.3bn assets
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved acquisition of ExxonMobil shares in the United States by Seplat Energy Offshore Limited.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement on Monday said his Buhari granted the approved as Minister of Petroleum Resources, and in consonance with the country’s drive for Foreign Direct Investment in the energy sector.
He said Exxon Mobil had entered into a landmark Sale and Purchase Agreement with Seplat Energy to acquire the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited from Exxon Mobil Corporation, Mobil Development Nigeria Inc, and Mobil Exploration Nigeria Inc, both registered in Delaware, USA.
There had been opposition from the NNPC Ltd, and the Akwa Ibom State Government which hosts most of the assets earlier on the transaction but the ministerial approval puts this to rest.
Adesina added that the President had given ministerial consent to the deal, considering the extensive benefits of the transaction to the Nigerian Energy sector and the larger economy.
He said the President, in commitment to investment drive in light of the Petroleum Industry Act, granted consent to the Share Sales Agreement, as requested by the parties to the transaction, and directed that the approval be conveyed to all the parties involved.
The presidential spokesman said Exxon Mobil/Seplat would carry out operatorship of all the oil mining licenses in the related shallow water assets towards production optimization to support Nigeria’s OPEC quota in the short term as well as ensure accelerated development and monetization of the gas resources in the assets for the Nigerian economy.
Adesina said President Buhari also directed that all environmental and abandonment liabilities be adequately mitigated by Exxon Mobil and Seplat.
The deal worth about $1.3bn will take a 40 per cent stake in four OMLs, including over 90 shallow-water and onshore platforms and 300 producing wells.
Tight monetary policy threatens FG’s N720bn borrowing plan
The Federal Government’s plan to borrow about N720 billion through FGN bond auctions in the third quarter, Q3’22, has come under fresh threat following increasing investors’ appetite for higher yields triggered by the adoption of tight monetary policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
Recall that the CBN, in response to the five consecutive months rise in inflation rate to 18.6 per cent in June, launched a tight monetary policy regime May, 2022, raising the Monetary Policy Rate, MPR, first by 150 basis points to 13 per cent in May and again by 100 basis points to 14 per cent in July.
This development effectively spurred increases in money market yields while intensifying investors’ appetite for higher returns across all instruments in all segments of the market.
Consequently, the first under-subscription was recorded in FGN bond auction this year, as the auction held in July recorded 37 per cent under subscription and as a result, Debt Management Office, DMO could not achieve its sales target.
According to the FGN bond auction calendar for Q3’22 released by the Debt Management Office, DMO, the FG plans to raise between N630 billion and N720 billion during the quarter.
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The calendar shows that the FG, through the DMO, seeks to raise between N210 billion and N240 billion in each of the three months in the quarter, through subscription in three tranches of 10-year, 10-year, and 20-year original tenor respectively.
But the N225 billion FGN bond offered by the DMO at the July auction recorded 37 per cent under subscription as total subscription stood at N142 billion.
Though the 20-year bond, 13.00% FGN JAN 2042, recorded 40 over subscription, as subscription stood at for N104.92 as against N75 billion offered by the DMO, the 3-years 13.53% FGN MAR 2025 and 10-years 12.50% FGN APR 2032, recorded 84 per cent and 66 per cent under subscription respectively, as subscriptions stood at N11.75 billion and N25.62 billion respectively as against N75 billion offered for each bon tenor.
Consequently, the DMO could only achieve total sales of N123.9 billion, representing 45 per cent of its target for the month.
This was in spite of slight increases in the interest rates on the bonds offered by the DMO.
The auction results showed that the DMO raised the marginal rates for the 3-year, 10-year and 20-year bonds to 11.0 per cent from 10 per cent, 13.0 per cent from 12.5 per cent and 13.7 per cent from 13.2 per cent respectively in the June auction.
Investment analysts however noted that for the DMO to attract investors to future auctions it would have to offer higher rates given the inflation rate of 18.6 per cent and MPR at 14 per cent.
While noting that in spite of the impact of scarcity of funds and increasing appetite triggered by the CBN’s tight monetary policy, on future bond auctions, they expect the DMO to meet its funding target of N3.53 trillion to finance the projected deficit of N7.35 trillion in the FGN’s 2022 budget.
Speaking in this regard, analysts at FBNQuest Securities, associated company in the First Bank Group, said: “The total amount raised by the DMO this year amounts to N1.7 trillion. If we include sales based on non-competitive allotment, the gross amount rises to N1.96 trillion. This excludes smaller sums raised via other instruments including Sukuk and the FGN savings bond.
“Despite the DMO’s disappointing outing, the sum raised so far by the agency suggests that it is broadly on track to raise its total domestic funding target of N3.5 trillion (including the additional borrowings of N965 billion following revisions to the budget).
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“However, the tight liquidity conditions in the market may continue to negatively affect demand at auctions in the near term.
“There are tougher credit conditions on the international market following monetary policy tightening by most central banks globally. This may force the FGN to turn to the domestic market to source some of the N2.6 trillion in external borrowing highlighted in the 2022 budget.
“The last resort would be for the fiscal deficit to become unfunded, or in other words, funded by ways and means advances from the CBN.
“Given the tight liquidity conditions in the market, we see yields inching up by around 25-50bps across the curve over the coming weeks.”
Similarly, analysts at United Capital Plc, associated company in the First Bank Group, said: “In line with our expectations of an uptick in the yield environment in the sovereign bonds market, marginal rates across all the tenors climbed 90bps, 50bps, and 60bps to print at 11.00%, 13.00% and 13.75%, respectively. Investors opted toward a more relaxed approach in the auction, demanding higher yields, as the expectation of inflation, interest rates, and political risks all begin to crystalise. These follow persistent inflation, monetary policy normalisation globally and the increased perception of political risk as we approach the electioneering season.
“We expect a continued uptick in marginal rates at subsequent bond auctions, as we believe investors will remain standoffish. The DMO will need to reel in higher rates to attract fund managers’ interests.
“Also, the recent hawkish stance adopted by the CBN, hiking rates by 250bps in total (100bps at July’s MPC meeting), will drive investor’s appetite for increased rates.
“Notwithstanding, we maintain the FG’s apparent need to rely on the domestic debt market to fund its fiscal imbalance, as external debt market conditions remain unfavourable. These factors will further impetus for shifting pricing power away from the FGN/DMO and into the hands of private sector asset managers.”
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