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There’re Signs CBN May Cut Monetary Policy Rates Soon- Lukman

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In spite the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Monetary Policy Committee’s decision on Tuesday to retain the country’s benchmark interest rate at 14 percent, Lukman Otunuga, research analyst at Forex Times (FXTM) has expressed optimism that positive outlook attainable in the economy might lead to reduction of MPC in no distant time.

Lukman who commented to the CBN Committee’s decision to also leave the existing cash reserve ratios for commercial banks at 22.5 percent and the Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent, said that it did not come as a surprise.

Following the CBN’s Committee decision, Asymmetry Corridor is maintained at +200 and -500 basis point.

This is the fourth time in a row the CBN has decided to leave all rates at the same level.

The CBN’s decision comes weeks after Nigeria’s inflation rate recorded its first reduction in fifteen months.

The inflation rate fell to 17. 78 in February from 18.72 in January.

“On a Headline basis, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which measures inflation increased by 17.78 percent (year-on-year) albeit at a slower pace in February 2017, 0.94 percent points lower from the rate recorded in January (18.72) percent,” NBS said.

“This represents the first time in 15 months that the headline CPI has declined on year on year basis representing the effects of slower rises in already high food and non food prices and favourable base effects over 2016 prices.”

MPC said inflation was down, year-on-year, but the food index rose in February from figures recorded in January, mounting pressure on consumers.

Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor, however advised Government to step up efforts to implement the Recovery and Growth plan

The document is a medium term plan aimed at revamping the economy between 2017 and 2020.

“The Plan outlines bold new initiatives such as ramping up oil production to 2.5mbpd by 2020, privatizing selected public enterprises/ assets, and revamping local refineries to reduce petroleum product imports by 60 percent by 2018.” The document read

“Other initiatives include environmental restoration projects in the Niger Delta, which demonstrate the Federal Government’s determination to bring environment sustainability to the forefront of its policies.

“As part of this Plan, oil revenues will be used to develop and diversify the economy, not just sustain consumption as was done in the past.

In his comment, Lukman said, “The fact that the Central Bank of Nigeria has decided to keep monetary policy unchanged should be no surprise especially when factoring how the nation is in the process of a critical structural transformation.

“Although the lingering fears decelerating economic growth and concerns over surging prices have partially attributed to the Central Bank’s passive stance, the overall sentiment towards the nation continues to display early signs of improvement. Some optimism exists over the nation’s recovery, with Nigeria’s inflation declining for the first time in 15 months in February and the noticeable increase in Dollar sales for importers bolstering the Naira on the black market exchange. If economic data continues to follow a positive path in the longer term and inflation cools then there is a possibility of the Central Bank cutting interest rates to stimulate growth.

“On the foreign exchange front, the Naira was boosted on the black market this week after the Central Bank of Nigeria offered another $180 million to meet bids for forwards.

“While the repeated injections of Dollars in the foreign exchange may buoy the Naira, questions may be raised over the sustainability of this method.

“With the multiple exchanges still a cause for concern that the needs to be dealt with, expectations remain elevated over the CBN taking further steps to fully bridge the gap, ultimately creating one equilibrium currency exchange”.


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E-Financial

FG Sacked IST Members over Fraud- Ahmed

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Mrs Zainab Ahmed, minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, has said the Federal Government sacked some past members of the Investments and Securities Tribunal (IST) as they indulged in corruption.

FG Sacked IST Members over Fraud- Ahmed

Inaugurating the new members, the minister charged the new members to eschew corruption and be forthright.

Bar. Azi Amos Isaac was appointed as Chairman for a five year term and Bar. Nosa Smart Osemwengie, was re-appointed as member for a second term of four years.

“The problem with the tribunal has been infighting amongst members, lack of industrial harmony and series of complaints bordering on maladministration.

“This has been the bane of the tribunal and a source of embarrassment not only for the Ministry of Finance but for the government in general,” Ahmed said.

The new chairman, Azi, assured the finance minister that, “the teething issue of restiveness has been addressed since he assumed duty,” adding that, “The place is calm and the staff have become very supportive.”

Azi said since 2003, the tribunal has “given judgment in the value of assets worth over N844 billion and that from 2017 to date, they have given decisions in monetary value totalling over N28bn.

“It has not failed in its adjudicatory responsibility.

“It has carried out its assignment with candour and integrity and intends to improve on what has been on ground.”

 


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CBN Bans Customer-to-Customer Forex Transfer

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has banned transfer of foreign exchange (forex) from one customer to another.

CBN Bans Customer-to-Customer Forex Transfer

According to the apex bank, forex cash lodgements into domiciliary accounts can only be done by the account owners henceforth.

An internal memo available in the media space explains that the new guidelines are necessary to review the utilisation of inflows into customers domiciliary accounts.

The circular states: “Forex inflows cannot be credited to customers until the legitimacy of funds is established.

“They can have unfettered access by telegraphic transfers up to a limit of $40,000 monthly for payment of medical bills, school fees, subscription to professional bodies subject to existing CBN guidelines.

“Transfers from one customer to another is prohibited. Transfer within related companies is allowed subject to a limit of $50,000 per month.”

It recommended that proceeds from non-oil exports should be sold to banks, used for repayment of dollar term loans, and self-utilisation for trade transactions for LC, bills and Form A.

Also oil export proceeds from E&P companies are to be used to pay contractors and service providers employed by the oil companies in addition to the recommended uses for non-oil FX proceeds.

Offshore forex inflows from other Nigerian banks and internal account to forex transfers sourced from offshore inflows are to be used for trade transactions subject to eligibility for E-Form M.

“Upon confirmation of the legitimacy of the inflows, customers can have unfettered access, subject to a maximum of $50,000,” the document read.

“Utilisation for trade transactions subject to processing of eligible trade transactions using E-Form M. Payment for services must be backed with demand note from offshore beneficiary and other regulatory documents.

“Related party transfers are allowed to the maximum of the inflow received. The transfer request should be backed by a signed instruction from the account holder.” Payment of government fees and levies are also allowed to the maritime, oil and gas, aviation. government parastatals and export processing zones.

 


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Stanbic IBTC, Standard Bank, Listed Among Top African Corporate Brands

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Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC and its parent company, Standard Bank, have emerged amongst the top winners of the 2020 Tech Times’ Africa LinkedIn Corporate Brand Awards.

The Stanbic IBTC Group emerged the second position in the category, with total votes of 3,515, out of 24 firms nominated for the award. Standard Bank placed the fourth 2,494 votes.

Nominations for this award opened to the public on July 1, 2020 and closed on July 14.

Shortlisted nominees were announced on August 24 while voting commenced immediately and voting ended on September 8, 2020.

The Corporate Brand Awards was instituted by Tech Times’ Africa, an online platform for leading technology, innovation, and startup stories.

Expressing his delight on the awards, Dr Demola Sogunle, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, said that both Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC and Standard Bank had been deliberate and consistent in making a remarkable impact in Africa’s financial sector.

“Our sincere appreciation goes to the organisers of the Africa Corporate Brands Awards and to every member of the public who voted. This is a reflection of the high level of trust and confidence that the public has reposed on us,” he added.

Dr Sogunle further said that Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC would remain relentless in portraying the organisation as one of the most influential corporate brands in Africa.

He stated: “Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC and Standard Bank have relentlessly contributed to driving the growth and development of the African financial ecosystem. These awards affirm our efforts, and we are encouraged to raise the bar continually.”

The Africa Corporate Brand Award is designed to identify and recognise outstanding companies. It also projects their achievements and impacts on African society and the world at large.


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