• Dollar scarcity: Banks suspend ATM card usage abroad

    17/Oct/2016 // 251 Viewers

     

    Deposit Money Banks have begun suspending their Automated Teller Machine cards (debit and credit) from working overseas as dollar scarcity continues to hit the economy badly.

    Stanbic IBTC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria and Guaranty Trust Bank on Friday announced the suspension of their overseas ATM card services.

    Also suspended by the banks are online transactions priced in foreign currencies. This means that customers of the banks will no longer be able to use their debit or credit cards to make online transactions that are denominated in dollars, euros, pounds sterling and other foreign currencies.

    In a note to its customers on Friday entitled: ‘Suspension of international transactions on naira debit cards’, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria said, “Please be informed that effective immediately, your naira denominated debit cards will no longer be functional for international transactions.

    “This is due to the current volatility in the foreign exchange market. Your naira-denominated debit cards can only be used for local transactions at Point of Sale terminals, Automated Teller Machines and online for Nigerian retailers.”

    In a text message to its customers on Friday, Stanbic IBTC Bank similarly said, “Dear customer, kindly note that effective October 18, 2016, your ability to carry out transactions priced in foreign currency using our naira debit and credit cards will be suspended. We apologise for any inconvenience in this regard.”

    Both Stanbic IBTC Bank and Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria advised customers seeking to carry out transactions denominated in foreign exchange to apply for dollar or pounds sterling debit credit cards. According to them, the dollar or pounds sterling debit or credit cards will be linked to the customers’ domiciliary accounts.

    GTBank also announced the suspension of the ATM cash withdrawal service abroad. The lender also slashed its monthly ATM forex transactions to $100.

    In a notice to customers on Friday entitled: ‘Review of the international spending limit on your naira Master Card’, the bank stated, “We write to inform you of the monthly spending limits currently applicable when using your GTBank naira Master Card for international payments via PoS and online. Previous monthly limit via PoS and online was $250; the new monthly limit via PoS and online is now $100. Kindly note that ATM cash withdrawal on your naira MasterCard is now only available in Nigeria.”

    The development will make students studying in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Ukraine and other parts of the world to face more challenges getting their monthly stipends from their parents.

    Most of the students had relied on the ATM card withdrawal to get their monthly stipends from their parents before now.

    This means customers seeking to do foreign transactions will have to open domiciliary accounts and fund same with dollars, pounds or euros purchased from the parallel market at the prevailing exchange rates.

    Although other banks have yet to announce the suspension of ATM card services abroad, findings by our correspondent showed that many lenders had reduced drastically the amount that customers could withdraw via ATMs abroad.

    This is despite the fact that the banks have in the past few months reduced the monthly total amount of forex-denominated transactions that customers can do, using their naira debit or credit cards via ATMs and PoS terminals abroad as well as online payments or transactions.

    As of last week, findings showed that some banks had slashed their daily ATM withdrawal limit abroad from the $300 advised by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Bankers Committee to $100 due to their inability to source for dollars to fund the transactions.

    Unconfirmed sources said some banks had reduced their monthly ATM withdrawal limit abroad to $100.

    Top banking officials close to the development told our correspondent under the condition of anonymity that banks were increasingly finding it difficult to fund their foreign-currency denominated services, especially online forex transactions and overseas ATM withdrawals, as well as PoS usage overseas by customers.

    A top official of Deposit Money Bank, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told our correspondent on Sunday, “We have to stop the services. Formerly, we were sourcing forex at high prices and we were selling same to customers at similarly high prices. But the situation is now tense; the dollar scarcity has assumed a new dimension.

    “This is coupled with the fact that some bank customers are using the platforms to do round-tripping. It is high time we stopped it.”

    The decision by some banks to suspend overseas ATM card services and online forex transactions came barely one week after the CBN, through the Bankers’ Committee, raised concerns about what it called the indiscriminate and suspicious manner in which some bank customers were spending dollars and other foreign currencies abroad through their naira debit cards.

    Consequently, the regulator said it had concluded that bank customers who spent above the $50,000 annual forex limit it imposed would be barred from the nation’s forex market.

    The Director, Banking Supervision, CBN, Mrs. Tokunbo Martins, stated this after the 329th Bankers’ Committee meeting held at the apex bank’s office in Lagos on Wednesday.

    She said, “In the CBN’s move to manage the demand for forex, there was a rule that was put in place that people were not allowed to withdraw more than $50,000 annually on their naira debit cards.

    “For a while, the policy has been abused by bank customers, and the CBN has not taken any step to that effect. We have decided to take the step now to enforce the rule. So, we want members of the public to remember that that rule is in place.

    “All your accounts are linked to a particular Bank Verification Number. Now, that the BVN only allows you to withdraw only $50,000 per annum, if people continue to breach that rule, they will lose access to forex market.”

    Dollar scarcity has been ravaging the economy after the price of crude oil, Nigeria’s main forex earner.

    It crashed from $110 per barrel to around $44 per barrel from June 2014.

    The nation’s foreign exchange reserves have been depleting since then.

    On Wednesday, the country’s external reserves hit an 11-year low of $24.21bn, the latest data posted on the CBN website showed.

    This means a limited amount of dollars will be available at the official interbank spot market, fuelling concerns over another round of depreciation of the naira.

    The foreign exchange reserves fell by $600m in two weeks before shedding $1bn in four weeks, the CBN statistics showed.

    An expert at Ernst and Young, Mr. Bisi Sanda, lamented on the dollar pressure on the economy.

    He said the Federal Government needed political will to address the issues fuelling dollar scarcity on the economy.

    He said, “The issue of dollar is very important to the economy. It is predicated on the fact that we are a dollar-denominated economy. It appears the government is still begging issues as far as the import-dependent state of our economy is concerned.

    “We need to fix issues, we need to go back to the drawing board. The CBN said between 2010 and 2016, a total of $11bn was sold to the Bureaux De Change annually. We need to plug leakages in this area.”


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  • Jubilation as Naira appreciates on Tuesday (See exchange rate)

    18/Apr/2017 // 2587 Viewers

     

    PARIS, APRIL 18, 2017: (DGW) THE Nigerian Naira on Tuesday appreciated against all major currencies on the parallel market as Central Bank against stepped in to strengthen the naira, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

    The naira exchanged at N398 to the US dollar thus appreciating from  N410 it posted at the segment on Friday

    It was traded at N497 and N430 to the pound sterling and Euro, respectively, at the segment.

    At the Bureau De Change (BDC), the dollar was sold at N362 to the dollar, while the pound and the Euro closed at N495 and N428, respectively.

    Trading at the interbank saw the naira closing at N306 to the dollar.

    Traders still expressed optimism that the naira might sustain its appreciation against the dollar as the CBN maintained its liquidity boost to all the segments of the market.

    Meanwhile, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, the President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), said that BDCs were working hard to close the gap between the official and the parallel market rates.

    He commended the CBN for increasing the volume of foreign exchange offered to BDCs weekly and promised that its members were ready to drive down the rates if the apex bank continued to inject more liquidity to the sector. (NAN)


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  • President Buhari admits own failures, worried about rising inflation and falling foreign reserves

    18/Aug/2016 // 642 Viewers

     

    PARIS, AUGUST 18, 2016: President Muhammadu Buhari has for the first time admitted his own failures regrding his inability to proffer solutions to the myriad of problems confronting the country.

    He made the stunning disclosure in a symposium  while speaking at the Association of African Central Bank titled Unwinding Conventional Monetary Policies' 

    The President said he is very worried  about the  rising inflation, restrictions in capital flows and depleting forex reserves.

    His words:

    “The region is confronted with several global and domestic economic challenges. Most worrisome is the slowdown in growth, weakening global demand, rising inflation, restrictions in capital flows, rising debt levels, increased exchange rate volatility and depleting external reserves,” Buhari said.

    “Those of us who rely on only natural resources such as Nigeria, Angola, South Africa, and Mozambique have been hit the hardest. We have also had to contend with the effect of the Ebola Virus Disease, which struck some countries in the West-African Sub-region.

    “Furthermore, China, a major trade and business partner to a number of African countries is currently slowing down as it remodels its economy, sparking fears of further weakening.”

    He said “African Central Banks have been at their best in keeping African economies afloat through proactive and effective combination of conventional and innovative monetary policies”.

    “I urge you to continue to look for original homegrown solutions, not to rely on ‘fit for all purposes’ prescriptions handed down from abroad. The world is a dynamic place and with innovation, we can survive.

    “In Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria has for many years spearheaded economic stimulus measures through specific intervention programmes. I think these measures should be sustained through good times and through difficult times.

    “Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, we fully understand that monetary policy alone is not sufficient to bring about desired economic growth. We must carefully balance monetary and fiscal policy measures.”

    “For us in Nigeria, while recognizing the challenges we are confronted with and the need to surmount them, we are determined to diversify the economy away from excessive reliance on oil and other primary products,” Buhari added.

    “Consequently, we are taking measures and implementing policies that would ensure we are self-sufficient, generate massive employment for millions of our youth, and explore our untapped human and natural resources.

    “We shall also embark on export and production diversification steps including investment in infrastructure; promotion of manufacturing through agro-based industries and expansion of Regional Trade.

    “All these would involve integrating the informal economy into the mainstream and providing funds to Small and Medium Enterprises.  We shall also continue, with greater determination and focus to pursue our goal of ensuring improved security for our country and its citizens, and without letting up on our fight against corruption and terrorism.

    “Side by side, with economic stimulus measures, we must intensify our surveillance and give guidance to the operations of our financial institutions to reverse the trend of illicit flows of funds out of Africa.

    “We should all be serious in putting place measures aimed at ensuring that the proceeds of these illicit flows are repatriated to their countries of origin with minimal bureaucratic hitches.”

    The symposium was attended by Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, and many other central bank governors across Africa.


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  • Global recession puts pressure on Nigeria’s reserves

    18/Dec/2015 // 230 Viewers

     

    The National Economic Council has urged state governments in Nigeria to adopt stringent conservative measures in handling their finances for the next three years.

    Minister for Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma disclosed this while briefing State House Correspondents at the end of the monthly meeting.

    He said the Council reached the decision in order to address the dwindling resources available to government at all levels.

    The National Economic Council meeting, which reviews the position of the economy and looks at options available to government for improvement was presided over by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.

    Addressing newsmen after the meeting, Budget and National Planning Minister Udoma Udo Udoma said the Council emphasized the need for the federal and state governments to work closely on economic matters.

    “We briefed the council about government’s revenue and expenditure projection for the next three years, our view in terms of the global outlook and macro economic framework and we also urged states of the country to look towards improving their internally generated revenue and blocking financial leakages in the system. We emphasized the need in planning for the economy, for the federal government and the states to work very closely together,” he said.

    Taraba state Governor, Darius Ishaku said the country’s excess crude account gained an interest of over 599 thousand dollars, and the current balance of the account stood at 2.2 billion Dollars.

    Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal also briefed State House Correspondents at the meeting.

    He said the Central Bank Governor gave an update on current challenges being faced as a result of the fall in the price crude oil, which he said had affected Nigeria’s foreign reserve.

    “The Governor of the Central Bank gave an update on monetary policy measures and foreign exchange management strategy. He reported to the Council about many challenges being faced as a result of the global economy recession. He also reported that a drop in oil prices has caused serious pressure on Nigeria’s reserve, which currently stands at 29 billon Dollars,” Tambuwal explained.

    He said as a monetary policy, the Central Bank Governor announced the adoption of the use of pre-loaded debit cards by travelers instead of cash exchange demand, to reduce the buying of dollar cash for illicit businesses.

     

     

    Source: VON


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  • Lagos ports await 25 vesels laden with fuel, others

    18/Jan/2017 // 283 Viewers

     

    No fewer than 25 vessels are expected to arrive at the Lagos pilotage district with various cargoes, including petroleum products, wheat, salt, and fish and a host of others.

    No fewer than 25 vessels are expected to arrive at the Lagos pilotage district with various cargoes, including petroleum products, wheat, salt, and fish and a host of others.

    This is coming on the heels of another two motor vessels carrying fertiliser and fish; and another one motor vessels with Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol and F/fish are waiting to berth at the Lagos ports.
    With inflation at 11 year high of 18.55 percent, the cargoes are essential commodities, which arrivals will their boost availability in the market and hold prices steady.

    The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), which revealed these in its shipping position on Monday, said the three motor vessels were currently at ENL port, while the petroleum-laden ship is at PWA port with 15000 metric tonnes of PMS.

    The fuel, which is expected to boost supply in the downstream market is yet to be cleared for discharge, as the cargo is labeled Customs release not applicable (CRNAPP).
    Meanwhile, the 25 other ships that are expected in the Lagos pilotage district were scheduled to start arriving from January 13 to 28th, 2017.

    The vessels expected include; Green Guatamela; Pretty Lady; Orwell; Zante; Arcadia; Jin Sha Ling; Oceaneagle; Desert Victory; Mol Dedication; Jonathan Swift; Safmarine Chambal; HS Debusy; SafmarineChachai; Rossini; Quadriga; Autumn E; Solstice N and Maersk Cairo and a host of others.

    Petroleum products, such as PMS, Automated Gas Oil (AGO), Jet A1 and base oil are leading the expected cargoes, while other products such as F/Fish, B/Salt, B/Gypsum and wheat, and many others are being imported.


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  • Again, Buhari fails to make the N1 equal in value to $1 as Naira remains 'stable' on the black market but outrageously high (Exchange rate frustrating)

    18/Jan/2017 // 1816 Viewers

     

    PARIS, JANUARY 17, 2016: (DGW) THE naira, Nigeria's domestic currency remained static on the parallel market as of Tuesday 17, 2016 with the currency exchanging for N497 to $1 US dollar. 

    The Naira, however, crashed against the British Pound Sterling trading at N597 and also weakened against the Euro trading at N521 on the black market.

    On Monday, the Nigerian currency on the parallel or black market segment of the Nigerian foreign exchange market traded at N497 to one U.S dollar.


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  • Again, NIGERIA suffers humiliation as ADB refuses her $5 billion loan request

    18/Jan/2017 // 1750 Viewers

     

    PARIS, JANUARY 18, 2016: (DGW) Nigeria has again been refused $5 billion loan request after she was previously refused by China by Africa Development Bank (ADB)

    Reason cited was unclear economic reform, National Daily has reported.

    According to the report, the country's delay in submitting the required economic reform plans have stalled the country’s effort in securing about $5bn from international lenders.

    Nigeria had explained that she intends to use the loan to tackle the lingering recession facing the country. 

    Investigation showed that for about a year now, Nigeria has been in talk with the World Bank, promising to present its proposed reform plans before the end of last December, 2016 but failed to do so.


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  • Nigerian economy improving, showing signs of quick recovery - Analysts

    18/Jul/2016 // 500 Viewers

     

    Nigeria’s economy is still Africa’s number one, notwithstanding the 30 per cent drop in the currency last month knocked almost $150 billion off its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

    South Africa, which has regained second place after overtaking Egypt, is closing the gap, although its economy also shrank with the   weakening of the rand. The gap between both economies has narrowed to $60 billion from $170 billion at the end of last year.

    The International body said the economy could contract, even as Renaissance Capital Limited’s analyst, Yvonne Mhango urged the government to address the sundry economic issues facing the country.

    Last month, with the CBN’s forex  policy,  the naira depreciated after a 15-month currency peg curbed investment and contributed to a 0.4 percent contraction in the economy in the three months through March.

    According to the IMF, the four-month delay in passing the record N6.1 trillion ($21.6 billion) budget, meant to stimulate growth  by spending on roads, ports and electricity generation, will reduce its efficiency.

    The administration’s vision to diversify the economy which relies on oil for more than 70 percent of revenue, has not translated into big investments, and infrastructure to support local manufacturers doesn’t exist yet, according to Mhango.

    She regretted that not much has been heard enough on how the government planned to improve and make the business environment more conducive. She added in a statement that there has been little color on fiscal policies to drive the growth agenda.

    Nigeria is facing a revenue squeeze as oil earnings fail as a result of militancy. The naira peg at 197-199 per dollar, compared with an unofficial exchange rate of 340 per dollar just before the currency was allowed to float, caused fuel shortages for months as businesses struggled to access foreign currency to place orders.

    “It is not sufficient to focus on going from a de facto peg to a flexible regime,” IMF’s Resident Representative in Nigeria, Gene Leon, said.

    “The authorities need to be announcing at the same time how the change affects fiscal policy, how is it impacting inflation, balance sheets of corporates, balance sheets of the banks, and how the increased fiscal receipts allows the undertaking of development,” he stated in a statement.


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  • Nigerians Jubilate As Finance Minister Finally Delivers, Shocks The World With Her Best Move

    18/Sep/2016 // 4646 Viewers

     

    POST.NG - The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, on Friday, September 16, disclosed plans to pump in billions of naira into the nation’s economy, as a means of bouncing it back to life.

     
    ‎The Minister, who made this known during a press briefing in Abuja, ‎said N350 billion will be released next week to ‎various Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, while another N60 billion, would be released for social intervention programmes, including school feeding programmes, and teachers assistants scheme, designed to enhance the standard of livings of Nigerians.
     
    Injecting billions of naira in key Ministries such as Power, Works and Housing, Interior, Transport, Agriculture, and Defence, according to her, is capable of boosting spending, as more Nigerians will be employed in those sectors.
     
    The Minister said, ‎”This will take our total capital spend to over N700 billion.‎
     
    “We are funding the rehabilitation of abandoned airport projects. Significant funding is going into agriculture, because of the time sensitivity of the sector.
     
    ‎”Government had to intervene, to ensure food production was restored, to bring down rising food prices.
     
    “A lot has gone in for defence, because we needed to rebuild and retool the capabilities of our army, to continue with the efforts in the North-East part of the country,” Adeosun explained.
     
    Elaborating on the Social Intervention Programme, she said the scheme will enable government release monies for the N5,000 stipend, to the most vulnerable people in the society.
     
    On the multiplying effect, Adeosun reiterated that the release of the funds, will enable thousands of graduates who have enlisted as primary school teaching assistants under the N-Power programme, to get their salaries, or stipends at the end of the month.
     
    ‎Speaking on the success so far recorded in her Ministry, ‎she said, the Ministry of Finance has also secured approval from the World Bank, African Development Bank, AfDB, and other multilateral and international lending financial institutions, to secure loans on minimal interest rates, in a bid to rejuvenate the nation’s economy.
     
    She said, ‎”We are working with the Ministries to try to speed things up.
     
    “We are working with the Bureau for Public Procurement, BPP, to see how to fast track the process of contracts, so the delays could be removed, so that monies could trickle down into the pockets of Nigerians.
     
    ‎”We have strategic plans to take us out of recession.
     
    “We want to ensure the recession is as short as possible.
     
    “We don’t want to prolong the recession. We think some of the initiatives we are working on, will begin to bear fruits.
     
    “Already there are activities resuming on roads, power, health, solid minerals, and water resources,” Adeosun said.‎‎


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  • Queen marks 90th birthday, as popular as ever

    19/Apr/2016 // 296 Viewers


    (FILES) This file photo taken on June 24, 2015 shows Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, as they arrive at the Adlon Hotel in Berlin.
    Queen Elizabeth II will celebrate her 90th birthday on April 21, 2016, with a family gathering and a cake baked by a reality television star, as a new poll finds Britain’s longest serving monarch is as popular as ever. The queen has reigned for more than 63 years and shows no sign of retiring, even if she has in recent years passed on some of her duties to the younger royals.
    / AFP PHOTO / Ronny HARTMANN

    Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 90th birthday on Thursday with a family gathering and a cake baked by a reality television star, as a new poll finds Britain’s longest serving monarch is as popular as ever.
    The queen has reigned for more than 63 years and shows no sign of retiring, even if she has in recent years passed on some of her duties to the younger royals.

    A new poll suggests the British public want it to stay that way, with 70 percent saying she should reign for as long as possible, the highest proportion since 1981.

    Support for the monarchy remains high at 76 percent, according to the Ipsos-Mori poll for King’s College London.

    “The queen is hugely popular, she is liked personally and is felt to have done an excellent job,” Roger Mortimore, a professor at the Institute of Contemporary British History at King’s College London, told AFP.

    Thursday’s celebrations will be low-key, with the main public events, including a military parade and lunch for 10,000 guests on The Mall outside Buckingham Palace, taking place as part of her official birthday celebrations in June.

    With her husband Prince Philip, she will meet members of the public near Windsor Castle, her weekend residence, before lighting the first of a chain of beacons stretching across Britain and its overseas territories.

    At an event in Windsor’s town hall, the queen will be presented with a cake baked by Nadiya Jamir Hussain, the winner of the “Great British Bake Off”, a hugely popular television cooking competition.

    The Muslim mother-of-three will present the orange drizzle cake, with orange curd and orange butter cream, to the queen personally — a prospect she said has left her “so nervous I can’t even look at the oven”.

    The queen will also attend a family birthday dinner organised by her heir Prince Charles, emphasising her role as the head of four generations of the House of Windsor.

    Charles and his son William are increasingly taking over the queen’s duties, although she still carried out 393 engagements last year, including state visits to Malta and Germany.

    William, who with his wife Kate and two young children has brought fresh energy to the royals, paid tribute to the matriarch he and his brother Harry describe as “the boss”.

    “I am incredibly lucky to have my grandmother in my life. As she turns 90, she is a remarkably energetic and dedicated guiding force for her family,” William said.

    – Lunch with Obama –
    The queen has seen 12 prime ministers pass through Downing Street since she ascended to the throne in 1952, meeting them once a week at the palace and still receiving daily updates of the workings of parliament.

    Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron will pay tribute to the monarch in parliament on Thursday, while US President Barack Obama will also pay his respects when he joins the queen for lunch at Windsor on Friday.

    The queen is widely viewed as a constant and stabilising presence in a turbulent world, a status she has cultivated by refusing to make public her personal views.

    Her determination to remain above politics has come under pressure ahead of Britain’s EU referendum on June 23, after a newspaper reported that she favoured a vote for Britain to leave the 28-nation bloc.

    The claim in The Sun, under the headline “Queen backs Brexit”, prompted a rare and strongly worded denial from Buckingham Palace, emphasising that she has and will always be politically neutral.

    In September last year, the queen broke Queen Victoria’s record to become Britain’s longest reigning monarch, but played down the achievement, saying it was “not one to which I have ever aspired”.

    “Inevitably, a long life can pass by many milestones. My own is no exception,” she said.- Guardian

     


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