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External reserves drop by 523 Million Dollars in two weeks

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Godwin Emefiele

Figures from the Central Bank of Nigeria revealed on Wednesday that Nigeria’s external reserves dropped by $523m to $34.475bn as of March 16 from $34.998bn as of March 1.

In February, the reserves, which had continued a downward trend of recent, lost $1.1bn, after it dropped from $36.19bn as of February 1 fell to $35.09bn as of February 26.

The Central Bank of Nigeria had recently stated that Nigeria’s external reserves at $35bn was sufficient to finance the country’s seven months’ imports.

When the reserves had experienced gains in the last quarter of 2020, the CBN disclosed that at $36.46bn, it could finance 8.4 months of import of goods or 6.3 months of import of goods and services.

The Central Bank of Nigeria monthly economic report for the fourth quarter of 2020, showed that the performance of the external sector improved in the review quarter, despite the challenges faced globally due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, weakened global demand, soaring second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and tense political environment in the United States.

It stated that an estimated overall balance of payments surplus of $0.79bn was recorded in the fourth quarter of 2020, from the $0.14bn recorded in the third quarter of 2020.

The Central Bank of Nigeria stated that the deficit in the current account widened to $5.27bn in the review period, compared with $3.34bn in the previous quarter.

It stated, “A net disposal of $2.5bn was recorded in the financial account, relative to $2.66bn in the preceding quarter.

“The external reserves at end December 2020 was $36.46bn, compared with $35.67bn at end September 2020, indicating an accretion of $0.79bn.

“This could finance 8.4 months of import of goods or 6.3 months of import of goods and services.”

The improvement in external reserves stock was attributed, mainly, to foreign exchange reforms undertaken by the bank to block leakages and ensure enhanced inflow of remittances from Nigerians in diaspora.

According to the Central Bank of Nigeria, public external debt stock stood at $31.99bn or 7.7 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product at end-September 2020, which was within the sustainable threshold of 40.0 percent of GDP.

In the foreign exchange market, the average naira exchange rate at the I&E and the BDC windows depreciated to N389.04/$ and N468.17/$ in the fourth quarter of 2020, from N386.60/$ and N461.94/US$ in the third quarter of 2020 respectively, the CBN stated.

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BoI Records N35.5bn Profit As Assets reaches N1.86trn

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BoI Records N35.5bn Profit As Assets reaches N1.86trn

The Bank of Industry – BoI has said it recorded a profit after tax of N35.54 billion for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2020, as its total assets hit N1.86 trillion.

The Managing director, BoI, Mr Olukayode Pitan, in a statement, yesterday, said that the performance demonstrates resilience and strength and also indicates synergy with the various interventions developed by both the federal government, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as well as other strategic partners, despite the significant challenges in the operating environment on account of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group’s total assets grew from 1.04 trillion to 1.86 trillion between 2019 and 2020, driven by the successful debt syndication of €1 billion and $1 billion that were concluded in March and December 2020 respectively.

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The group’s total equity increased by 14.8% from 293.08 in the previous year to 336.48 billion in 2020. Loans and advances grew marginally in 2020 by 1.3% to 749.84 bn from the 2019 position, a reflection of the adverse impact of the challenging operating environment on growth of new loans.

Profit before tax fell by 9.6% from 39.34 billion in 2019 to 35.54 billion, attributable to the economic slowdown in the year as well as the various interventions and support initiated by the bank for its customers were responsible for this result.

Pitan explained that the bank, in line with CBN directive, also reviewed and restructured all its managed projects under the CBN intervention programme with interest rate reduction from 9% to 5% per annum for a period of one year and moratorium extension of 3 months (with a possible extension up to 12 months).

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Get On the Central Credit Management Platform – CBN to Banks

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Get On the Central Credit Management Platform - CBN to Banks

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has mandated all development finance institutions (DFIs), microfinance banks (MFBs), primary mortgage banks (PMBs) and finance companies (FCs) operating in the country to enrol on its credit risk management system (CRMS).

This was disclosed on Monday, in a circular, stating that the move was part of efforts to promote a safe and sound financial system in Nigeria.

The CRMS was introduced to improve credit risk management in commercial, merchant and non-interest banks as well as to prevent predatory borrowers from undermining the banking system.

“With the successful implementation of the CRMS in deposit money banks, it has become expedient to commence the enrollment of Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) on the CRMS Platform,” the CBN said in the circular that was signed by its director, financial policy and regulation department, Kevin Amugo.

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Based on the memo, Dr Amugo said all DFls, MFBs, PMBs and FCs are required to report all credit facilities (principal and interest) to the CRMS and to update same on monthly basis. The bank said Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) and Tax Identification Numbers (TIN) are the only basis for regulatory renditions.

“To ensure full compliance, OFls are reminded to conclude the tagging of ALL live credit files for ALL individual and non-individual borrowers with BVN and TIN respectively by May 14, 2021,” Amugo said.

He further advised the concerned OFls to acquaint themselves with the regulatory guidelines for the operations of the redesigned CRMS for commercial, merchant and non-interest banks in Nigeria (February 2017) and the additional regulatory guidelines of September 2017.

Kindly note that the CBN will monitor compliance with the requirements of this circular and non-compliance will attract appropriate sanctions,” he stated.

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We’re not aware of currency printing – Finance ministry CBN

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Get On the Central Credit Management Platform - CBN to Banks

The Central Bank of Nigeria – CBN, has denied knowledge of claim that Nigeria printed billions of naira last month to cushion its financial trouble.

This came, after the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, alleged that Nigeria printed Sixty Billion Naira, N60bn to augment what the three tiers of government shared in March.

Obaseki reportedly stated on Thursday that Nigeria was in a huge financial trouble, alleging that the Federal Government printed N60bn in March as part of federal allocation last month.

The Edo governor also expressed worry over the country’s increased borrowing, saying it was wrong to continue borrowing without a tangible plan for debt repayment.

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When contacted to comment on the development, the spokesperson of CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, told one of our correspondents that he was not aware of any N60bn that was printed.

“I am not aware of that (N60bn printed by government,” he told our correspondent on Saturday.

Similarly, when contacted to speak on the N60bn that was allegedly printed in March 2021, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning said enquiries on the matter should be directed to the governor who made the allegation.

The media aide to the finance minister, Yunusa Abdullahi, said the Edo State governor or the CBN should be contacted.

“Please direct your questions to the governor who made the claim or the CBN,” he told our correspondent.

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