Paying for oil exports, others in naira will strengthen our currency, says Dogara  – Newstrends
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Paying for oil exports, others in naira will strengthen our currency, says Dogara 

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Paying for oil exports, others in naira will strengthen our currency, says Dogara 

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has offered a number of suggestions on how to immediately strengthen the nation’s currency, the naira.

One of the measures, he said, was for the Federal Government to mandate those buying Nigeria’s crude oil to pay in naira and not United States dollar.

Similarly, he said all payments for exports should be made in the local currency, which he noted would reduce the desperation for the USD and continued fall in the naira’s value.

Dogara also asked the Federal Government to unlock “idle dollars” in private vaults to crash the foreign exchange (FX) rate.

Dogara spoke on Wednesday at the special edition of The Platform, an event powered by The Covenant Nation to facilitate national development.

Themed, ‘Democracy and the Free Market Economy’, the programme was held to mark Nigeria’s 25 years of unbroken democracy.

The naira had appreciated marginally to N1,480/$ at the parallel section of the FX market on June 10 — but fell to N1,483 at the official window on the same trading day.

Dogara said the naira was grossly undervalued, attributing this to an insatiable demand for dollars.

The former lawmaker said the forex issue is the primary problem currently affecting Nigeria’s economy.

He said both legitimate and shady transactions were being conducted in dollars, stressing that unless the appetite for dollars was curbed, the demand would always exceed the supply.

He said, “So many reasons have been adduced by pundits to be responsible for FX rate instability in Nigeria.

“I believe the naira is grossly undervalued. This is because the most productive nations are not necessarily the nations with the strongest currencies.

“I think the only infliction point we witnessed was due to the advent of the BVN, which crippled the ability of corrupt officials and other shady characters to keep their loot in anonymous bank accounts.

“Almost all ill-gotten money is stashed in USD in private vaults as the naira is too bulky to warehouse.

“Therefore, I am of the firm belief that our insatiable appetite for USD is what is killing the naira.

“Believe it or not, nearly all big-ticket deals and transactions, both legitimate and shady, are closed in USD in Nigeria.

“Just find out, there is no hefty bribe that is not paid for in USD. Some schools in Nigeria charge fees in foreign currencies, and even our most valued export is paid for in USD.

“So, to me, wittingly or unwittingly, the USD is our currency of choice and as long as we don’t kill our appetite for USD, the demand for USD will always outstrip its supplies.

“The challenge before the government is how to unlock and make the USD locked up in private vaults in Nigeria begin to chase the naira. That to me is the commonsensical solution.

“I believe we have enough dollars in this country that we can unlock to make our economy work and to crash the FX rate.”

Dogara urged the government to mandate the use of the naira for the payment of all Nigerian exports, including crude oil, to strengthen the local currency.

“To achieve this, the government must demand that all Nigerian exports, including crude oil exports, be paid for in naira, just as we don’t pay for any import into Nigeria from any country in naira. It is not too much to demand that,” he said.

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CFAO Nigeria thrills, unveils all-new 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado

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CFAO Nigeria thrills, unveils all-new 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado

Toyota by CFAO has officially launched the All-New 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) into the Nigerian market.

Toyota by CFAO, an authorised distributor of all Toyota vehicle models in Nigeria, rolled the latest great SUV, in Lagos, marking the first anniversary of the company in Nigeria.

The unveiling held Friday July 19 at auto firm’s magnificent showroom on Adeola Odeku Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, was witnessed by top public and private sector stakeholders.

The All-New Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, renowned for its on-road and off-road capabilities, is one of the best-selling Toyota models in the world, with over 11.3 million units sold in more than 170 countries.

Managing Director of CFAO Mobility Nigeria, Mr. Denis Martin, said at the unveiling, “The Land Cruiser Prado represents more than just a vehicle; it’s a testament to Toyota’s enduring legacy and our vision for the future.

“As we honor our roots, we’re also pushing boundaries, much like the Prado itself—equally at home on city streets and rugged terrains.”

Martin added, “Today, we also celebrate a significant milestone—Toyota by CFAO’s first anniversary. It’s been a year of growth, learning, and creating strong partnerships with all stakeholders.

“I want to express my deepest gratitude to our customers for your trust, which motivates us, and our partners, for your crucial collaboration in our success. “Moving forward, we are committed to continuous improvement for our standard of excellence, both in the vehicles we offer and the service we provide.

“As we enter our second year, we are excited about the opportunities ahead to further enhance your driving experience and strengthen our bond with the community.”

Providing insight into the new vehicle, the Managing Director of Toyota by CFAO, Mr. Boye Ajayi, said, “Today, we unveil not just one, but two extraordinary editions of the Land Cruiser Prado—the Limited Edition, also known as the First Edition, and the Adventure Edition.

“The theme of our event, ‘Back to the Roots,’ perfectly encapsulates the essence of what we are celebrating here today. The Limited Edition, with only 2,000 units produced worldwide, takes us back to our roots, commemorating the inception of the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado.

“It symbolises exclusivity, history, and an unwavering commitment to delivering excellence.

“Each unit is a testament to Toyota’s dedication to crafting vehicles that stand the test of time while pushing the boundaries of innovation.”

He also said, “These vehicles represent the pinnacle of luxury, performance, and versatility.

“With the new 8-Speed Automatic Transmission, T24A-FTS turbo-charged powerful gasoline (petrol) engine, the Land Cruiser Prado delivers an exhilarating driving experience, combining power and efficiency in perfect harmony.

“Its robust design, advanced technology, and off-road capabilities ensure that every journey is an adventure to remember.”

The brand partner, Mai Atafo, was on hand to provide further details about the vehicle, which captivated the invited guests and became the center of attention.

Among the notable features of the vehicle, which is already available in all Toyota by CFAO outlets in Nigeria, is the Electric Power System (EPS)—the first in the Land Cruiser family—that facilitates improved maneuverability. Additionally, the new Stabilizer Disconnect Mechanism anti-roll bar system significantly enhances the vehicle’s off-road capabilities while guaranteeing outstanding comfort.

The firm adds that its website, www.toyotabycfao.ng provides further information about the vehicle’s features.

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Jaiz Bank tops stocks as equities close at N485bn

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Jaiz Bank tops stocks as equities close at N485bn

Nigeria’s premier and largest non-interest bank, Jaiz Bank Plc, was the most sought after stock at the stock market as investors scrambled to take positions in the bank after official confirmation of its recent recapitalisation.

The board of Jaiz Bank announced that the bank plans to scale up its capital base to N70 billion, after it successfully raised additional N10.4 billion new equity capital through a recent private placement.

The new capital brought the bank’s share capital and share premium to N18.7 billion, N1.3 billion below Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s new minimum capital requirement of N20 billion.

Jaiz Bank is one of the three banks with highest relevant minimum capital base, as defined by the CBN. Banks have up till March 2026 to comply with the new minimum capital requirements for their various licenses.

Jaiz Bank was the most active stock at the stock market in a rebound that saw Nigerian equities closing weekend with net capital gain of N485.4 billion.

Transactions on Jaiz Bank accounted for 686.93 million shares valued at N1.49 billion in 955 deals, the highest by any stock for the week. Cutix Plc occupied a distant second with a turnover of 232.07 million shares worth N1.44 billion in 822 deals. FCMB Group placed third with a turnover of 220.7 million shares worth N1.71 billion in 924 deals.

Altogether, the three most active stocks accounted for 1.14 billion shares worth N4.63 billion in 2,701 deals, representing 40.32 per cent and 10.93 per cent of the total equity turnover volume and value respectively.

Total turnover at the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) rose to 2.827 billion shares worth N42.366 billion in 44,277 deals last week as against 2.765 billion shares valued at N85.230 billion traded in 40,796 deals two weeks ago.

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The banking-led financial services sector accounted for more than three quarters of transactions at the market, with a sectoral turnover of 2.179 billion shares valued at N30.667 billion traded in 25,260 deals, representing 77.08 per cent and 72.38 per cent of the total equity turnover volume and value respectively. The industrial goods sector was a distant second with a turnover of 246.921 million shares worth N2.039 billion in 2,068 deals while the oil and gas sector placed third with a turnover of 107.218 million shares worth N1.704 billion in 3,128 deals.

Benchmark indices indicated average gain of 0.87 per cent during the week, equivalent to net capital gain of N485.4 billion. The All Share Index (ASI)-the value-based common index that tracks all share prices at the NGX, rose from its week’s opening index of 99,671.28 points to close at 100,539.40 points.

Aggregate market value of all quoted equities also increased correspondingly from the week’s opening value of N56.441 trillion to close weekend at N56.929 trillion. The market capitalisation was slightly moderated by the delisting of three companies during the week.

The market sentiment was generally positive with more gainers that losers. There were 37 gainers and 34 losers last week compared with 34 gainers and 38 losers recorded in the previous week.

Chairman, Jaiz Bank Plc, Alhaji Mustapha Bintube, last week said the bank plans to grow its capital base to N70 billion by the end of this year.

He pointed out that the bank is also poised for another impressive performance in 2024, noting that half year profit for 2024 had already surpassed the bank’s full-year profit of N11 billion in 2023.

According to him, from its humble beginning of initial capital of N6 billion in 2012, Jaiz Bank has grown consistently to become a dominant ethical bank in the West African region.

Bintube said the bank would continue to reflect its growth in dividend payment to shareholders, promising to increase the dividend payouts in the years ahead.

Managing Director, Jaiz Bank Plc, Haruna Musa, said the bank was working to be the first bank to complete its recapitalisation process.

According to him, the bank would soon launch a public offer to raise additional equity capital.

Jaiz Bank tops stocks as equities close at N485bn

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Energy theft: Ikeja Electric threatens immediate legal action

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Energy theft: Ikeja Electric threatens immediate legal action

Electricity Distribution Company, Ikeja Electric Plc (IE), at the weekend warned that offenders caught in the act of energy theft will be immediately charged to court. The company emphasised that the era of merely imposing loss of revenue (LOR) penalty alone on offenders is over, as it will now enforce the full weight of the law against offenders.

The company made this announcement at its July Stakeholders Forum, a monthly enlightenment meeting aimed at educating its customers about the company’s activities and laudable initiatives to foster improved service delivery.

IE’s Head of Corporate Communication, Kingsley Okotie, lamented the increase in energy theft, especially over the last three months following implementation of the reviewed tariff on Band A feeders. He noted that the company and the entire electricity value chain cannot survive if theft goes unchecked.

“The theft is massive and the company cannot guarantee meeting customer expectations if this ugly trend continues. Ironically, some perpetrators believe that if they haven’t been caught, there are no consequences. This is false and we must change the narrative,” he said.

Okotie stated that for the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) to survive, all stakeholders must fight in unison against theft, as pilfering of electricity hinders the stability of the sector. He emphasised that whatever happens to the Distribution Companies (Discos) affects the entire NESI.

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Speaking on strategies to curb theft, the company’s spokesman hinted that the whistleblowing platform is a very effective way for customers and well-meaning Nigerians to report incidents anonymously. He added that the platform is managed independently of the business, ensuring customers identity remain anonymous and highly confidential.

To reinforce the company’s commitment, IE, he disclosed, is incentivising whistleblowing by rewarding those who report any illegality and theft of electricity. Persons who submit verified reports on Non-Maximum Demand (Residential & SMEs) offenders will get up to 10 per cent of the reconnection fee paid by the offender while for Maximum Demand (Commercial & Industrial) offenders, whistle-blowers will get up to five per cent of the reconnection fees paid by the offender.

He further explained that energy theft is a criminal offence under the Electricity Act, attracting a sentence between six months to three years imprisonment. Interfering with meters or the works of licensees carries a sentence of three years imprisonment.

“Ikeja Electric can, under the law, prosecute people and companies for the criminal offence of energy theft. In line with regulations stipulated by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the NERC Order on unauthorized access, meter tampering, and bypass allows Discos to disconnect customers illegally connected to their network. Reconnection is only possible after offenders have paid for the loss of revenue by paying back-bills established by the Disco, along with reconnection costs and administrative charges,” Okotie warned.

In a related development, the Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) has taken steps aimed at recouping over N100 billion it has lost to energy theft and vandalism within its network. The utility also confirmed that it has dismissed about 20 staff members found to be involved in illegal activities and collaborating with customers to tamper with electrical equipment, while also threatening to prosecute residents caught engaging in energy theft and illegal connections.

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The EKEDC Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Rekhiat Momoh, made this known at its Customer Engagement Forum with customers from the Orile Business District, including Sanya, Orile, Ikate, Doyin, Coker, Aguda, Thomas Animashaun, parts of Eric Moore, TEXLON, Passat, parts of Alaka, Itire and Kernel.

Momoh, who was represented at the engagement by the EKEDC’s Chief Customer Experience Officer, Mrs Catherine Ezeafulukwe, regretted that energy theft and vandalism have been persistent issues plaguing the service delivery to all its network especially under the Orile District, causing significant financial losses and posing safety risks.

“The loses we incur as a result of energy theft and vandalism runs into several billions of Naira. This is why we are taking the campaign against energy theft and vandalism seriously because it is negatively affecting our bottom line and also our customers.

“Energy theft often prevents us from providing efficient service because it affects our facilities and infrastructure, impacting how consumers get electricity. Of course, we pay for energy whether it is distributed to customers or stolen, leading to billions of Naira in losses.

“Our debt profile is about N100 billion and our collection efficiency hovers around 87 to 89 percent despite buying energy at 100 percent from the Bulk Electricity Traders. We usually have around 15 to 18 percent outstanding debt that we struggle to offset in the energy market,” she revealed.

“We have a zero-tolerance policy for any staff reported and confirmed to have been involved in this act.

“We will sack them because we do not want such attitudes within our organization. If you know any of our staff indulging in energy theft or collaborating with customers to do so, EKEDC will not hesitate to dismiss them.

“In the last six months, we have dismissed over 20 staff, with many still being probed for their involvement in illegal practices,” Momoh said.

Energy theft: Ikeja Electric threatens immediate legal action

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