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Heritage Bank, LCFE Explore Commodities Market to Boost FX Liquidity

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Heritage Bank LCFE Explore Commodities Market

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Recently, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) launched a policy aimed to boost foreign exchange (FX) liquidity in the country with a policy known as the CBN RT200 FX Programme.

The scheme intends to generate about $200 billion in forex repatriation in the next three to five years through non-oil exports.

Nigeria, which is the largest economy in Africa, has mainly relied on the sale of crude oil for FX earnings and because of the global economic meltdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it has not earned much, putting pressure on the Naira at the exchange rate market.

To help the apex bank achieve the forex repatriation goal, Heritage Bank Plc, Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange (LCFE) and other participating financial institutions came together to explore opportunities on export revenue from the commodities market.

At a breakfast meeting organised by LCFE with bankers tagged The CBN RT200 FX Programme: and Potential of Export Revenue from the Commodities Ecosystem, representatives from Heritage Bank, FSDH, Agvest Limited, Novo Merchant Bank amongst others spoke on the matter.

Speaking on the opportunities for financial institutions in the CBN RT200 FX Programme, the Divisional Head, Agribusiness, Natural Resources & Project Development, Heritage Bank, Mr Olugbenga Awe, stated that the promotion of investment in commodities ecosystem by financial institutions in partnership with LCFE in its various assets traded in Agric commodities, energy and solid minerals would increase liquidity support from local commodity exportation to boost the race for the $200billion in FX repatriation and reduce the pressure on exchange rate.

Meanwhile, he identified challenges that expediently needed to be addressed which may likely hinder financial institution’s efforts on supporting the commodities ecosystem to drive the CBN’s RT200 FX target, such as inadequate export finance resources, lack of dependable source of local product prices, risk of haulage to bad roads amongst others.

Mr Awe explained that to significantly boost local production of exportable commodities and drastically reduce the country’s dependence on oil revenue, financial institutions must play the role of market markers to the Commodity Exchange (COMEX), thereby bringing liquidity to the exchange.

According to him, with COMEX as a risk mitigation platform, there is a need for the Warehouse (WR) finance structure to be registered with LCFE and the collateral management in place, which is within the parameters set by banks.

He further explained that banks must actively participate in crop receipts, liaise with their brokers to develop the value chain around a well market structure warehouse receipts systems (WRS).

This, he said would help stimulate demand amongst players from the aggregators, off-takers for standardized contracts that help deepen the value chain while providing financing that increased volumes traded.

Mr Awe, however, reiterated that promoting investment in commodities ecosystem via structured WR finance would bring about value addition to commodities with the help to moderate the prices, as the expected increase in demand would increase revenue export and make deposit money banks self-sufficient in meeting the FX needs of their customers.

The banker, who enumerated how financial institutions can partner with commodity exchange especially LCFE to deepen their footprints in various asset classes traded by LCFE, also referenced what Heritage Bank is doing in the Wheat Value Chain together with CBN investing N40 billion, which will scale up wheat production during harvest season.

According to him, whatever can be achieved in wheat can be replicated across the various value chains in rice, maize, others and ensuring that there is a link to the commodity exchange.

MD of LCFE, Mr Akin Akeredolu-Ale, who commended Heritage Bank for its sterling efforts in deepening its footprints in agribusiness, called on banks and other organisations to take advantage of the catalytic and transformational approach to support the CBN RT200 FX initiative.

He stressed that to achieve the target, there was a need for the creation and registration of Bank Commodity Desks with LCFE and Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS).

He noted that the stakeholders’ structure in financing the commodities ecosystem include Commodity Exchange, Commercial Banks, Non-Interest Banking, Merchant Bank.

Mr Akeredolu-Ale, who decried that the Nigerian economy was still import driven and depended largely on the export of petroleum to meet FX earnings, revealed that LCFE has lined up products such as commodity instruments, commodity-backed notes, Exchange-traded funds, Commodity Spot Contracts amongst others as a bumper for driving huge export revenue from commodities ecosystem to fast track the actualisation of $200 billion in FX repatriation.

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Economy

Binance Gets Digital Asset Service Provider Licence in France

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Binance

By Adedapo Adesanya

Binance, the world’s largest crypto and blockchain infrastructure provider, has been granted a Digital Asset Service Provider (DASP) registration to operate in France.

The green light was given by Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), which regulates the French financial markets, with the approval of the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR), the authority responsible for supervising the banking and insurance sectors in France, especially AML Regulations.

The landmark achievement for Binance represents its first DASP registration in the European Union and demonstrates its commitment to being a compliance-first exchange.

The registration allows Binance France SAS to operate as a DASP in France and provides regulatory protection for local users with regard to the implementation of French AML/CFT and customer identification requirements.

This came just after the platform received licenses to be a crypto service provider in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, a key milestone for the world’s largest digital-asset exchange as it set up the stage for a major push in the Middle East.

According to Binance, compliance and regulation are critical to the development and maturation of the crypto and blockchain industry.

Mr Changpeng Zhao (CZ), founder and CEO of Binance, said: “Effective regulation is essential for the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency. The French DASP and AML/CFT regulations put in place stringent anti-money laundering and fit and proper requirements to meet the high standards necessary to be regulated in France.”

“We are grateful to the AMF and ACPR who both demonstrated a commitment to innovation that made it possible for Binance to navigate the entire application process. Since day one, Binance has always put its users first, and now the crypto community can have even further confidence in Binance France as a trusted DASP registered in France,” he added.

Mr David Princay, CEO of Binance France added, “The registration of Binance France as a DASP is a key milestone for crypto in Europe. In particular, the new levels of protection for AML will help grow crypto adoption in France and Europe. Greater adoption will help bring better liquidity to the market which will be welcomed by users and the community in particular.”

Following the registration, Binance will significantly expand its operations and intends to recruit more people focused on cryptocurrency and blockchain infrastructure development.

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Economy

We’ll Sustain High Level of Corporate Governance—Seplat

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Seplat

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The immediate past chairman of Seplat Energy Plc, Mr Ambrosie Bryant Chukwueloka (ABC) Orjiako, has assured that the company will continue to sustain a high level of corporate governance.

Speaking last Thursday at the closing gong ceremony to honour him and introduce his successor, Mr Basil Omiyi, to the market, the energy expert applauded the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited for insisting on transparent and accountable corporate governance for issuers on its platform.

According to him, this has been critical to the company’s growth, assuring that this trend would be maintained in the interest of the firm’s stakeholders.

“The high level of corporate governance promoted by NGX for its listed companies was a key attribute that motivated Seplat Energy Plc to become part of the market.

“Since our acceptance into the market, Seplat Energy Plc has continued to deliver a corporate governance structure that is accountable and transparent to our investors, employees, government and all other relevant stakeholders.

“We are committed to sustaining these high levels of corporate governance through our collaboration with NGX as we implement market-leading measures towards ensuring Nigeria achieves a sustainable energy sector,” he said.

Corroborating him, Mr Omiyi, said, “NGX has played an instrumental role in Seplat Energy Plc’s growth within the domestic and international markets. Our history with the exchange dates back to 2014 when the shares of Seplat Energy Plc were listed in the market and over the years, Seplat has benefitted immensely from its collaboration with NGX.

“As we celebrate another milestone on the Trading Floor of the Exchange, we look forward to strengthening our partnership with NGX for the fulfilment of our joint goal of leveraging capital to empower sustainable initiatives that positively impact our investors, employees, and the environment.”

The chairman of NGX, Mr A.B. Mahmoud, in his address, congratulated Mr Orjiako for his exemplary leadership and outstanding performance of Seplat Energy for well over a decade, during which the company was listed on both NGX and the London Stock Exchange.

“The notable acquisition of eight oil and gas assets, expansion of the Oben and development of the ANOH gas plants under his leadership positioned the company as the largest indigenous domestic supplier of gas,” Mr Mahmoud, who was represented by a director on the bourse, Mr Kamarudeen Oladosu, he noted.

On his part, the CEO of NGX, Mr Temi Popoola, said, “The exchange is better positioned to lead government advocacy efforts for listed companies, promote technology advancement and digital innovation for the capital market, and increase retail investor participation in the capital market aimed at building a market for the future and addressing the prevailing challenge of financial inclusion.

“We welcome Seplat Energy Plc to a renewed NGX and look forward to deepening our collaboration to develop and push for disruptive, out of the box ideas that could support Nigeria’s energy transition into a net-zero economy.”

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Economy

JUST IN: CBN Raises Benchmark Interest Rate to 13%

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killing interest rate

By Dipo Olowookere

For the first time in two years, the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) has been raised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to 13.0 per cent from 11.5 per cent.

Mr Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the CBN, who announced this development on Tuesday in Abuja, explained that the decision to increase the benchmark interest rate was taken at the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held yesterday and today.

While addressing financial reporters this afternoon, Mr Emefiele said members of the committee were unanimous with the decision to hike the rates as it was the best thing to do after holding them for about two years.

According to the central bank chief, one of the reasons for raising the rate is to control liquidity ahead of the 2023 general elections as politicians would be expected to flood the system with cash in a bid to woo voters.

However, the other parameters were left unchanged by members at the gathering as the Asymmetric corridor remained around the MPR at +100/-700bps, the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 27.5 per cent and the Liquidity Ratio (LR) at 30.0 per cent.

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