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Economy

Naira Gains N1.46 at I&E as CBN Clamps Down on Crypto Trading

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Naira against pound sterling

By Adedapo Adesanya

The week ended for the Naira in the gains territory against the US Dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the foreign exchange market on Friday, February 5.

The Naira closed the last trading session of the week with a N1.46 or 0.37 per cent appreciation against the greenback to trade at N396.17/$1 compared to N397.63/$1 recorded on Thursday.

The local currency was strengthened amidst a spike in the demand for forex at the market window. It was observed that the ability of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to boost FX liquidity helped the situation.

The FX dealers were able to meet the $96.82 million worth of transactions from customers yesterday. At the preceding session, trades valued at $47.72 million were carried out, indicating that Friday’s turnover was higher by $49.1 million or 102.9 per cent.

As it had been in the past days, the exchange rate of the Naira to the US Dollar remained unchanged at the black market on Friday at N480/$1.

However, at the same parallel market, the local currency appreciated by N2 against the Pound Sterling, closing at N653/£1 in contrast to the previous day’s N655/£1. Also, the domestic currency gained N2 against the Euro to sell for N578/€1 compared to the previous N580/€1.

At the Bureaux De Change (BDC) segment of the market, data from the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) showed that the domestic currency closed flat against the American currency at N395/$1.

The same trend was replicated at the interbank rate, where the official exchange rate of the Naira to the Dollar remained static at N379/$1 yesterday.

Meanwhile, despite the regulatory clampdown on cryptocurrency trading in Nigeria by the CBN, the digital coins still maintained a level of calmness at the market on Friday.

Yesterday, the apex bank ordered the immediate closure of bank accounts operated by cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.

In a statement signed by the CBN Director of Banking Supervision, Mr Bello Hassan, the regulator said, “All DMBs, NBFIs and OFIs are directed to identify persons and/or entities transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges within their systems and ensure that such accounts are closed immediately.”

Despite this disruption caused by the banking sector watchdog, things remained positive and according to data from Quidax, one of the major cryptocurrency exchanges in Nigeria, five out of the seven tokens tracked by Business Post appreciated.

The Bitcoin (BTC) made a 0.7 per cent gain to trade at N17,927,604.67, Ethereum (ETH) rose by 1.3 per cent to sell at N791,991.99 while Dash (DASH) moved up by 1.7 per cent to N55,644.87.

Also, Litecoin (LTC) appreciated by 3.6 per cent to settle at N72,304.98, while Tron (TRX) gained 3.4 per cent to sell at N16.66.

However, Ripple (XRP) went down by 5.7 per cent to sell at N201.76, while the United States Dollar Tether (USDT) depreciated by 4.9 per cent in value to sell for N461.21.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Economy

Imasayi Cashew Plant in Ogun Resumes Operations

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Imasayi Cashew Plant

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Ogun State government has revived its cashew processing plant at Imasayi by partnering with an indigenous agro-allied processing company, J22 Concerns Limited in Kajola.

The Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment in the state, Mrs Kikelomo Longe, explained that this was part of efforts to boost the processing and exportation of cashew nuts.

Represented by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr Olu Ola Aikulola, who presented the letter of award to the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr Yinka Akintola, at the Palace of the Olu of Imasayi, Imasayi, Yewa North Local Government Area, the Commissioner said the present administration decided to operationalise the plant which has been unused since 2018 to enhance the socio-economic development of the people.

Mrs Longe called on relevant stakeholders and the people of Imasayi to support the investor in enhancing the cashew nut value chain through increased production of cashew nuts and sale for processing instead of selling them raw.

“We should team up with the investor to ensure the best use of this cashew processing plant. We want a situation whereby the cashew nuts grown in Imasayi will be processed in Imasayi.

“This will boost the cashew value chain and bring about development for the people, create job opportunities and lead to an improvement in the people’s standard of living,” she said.

The Commissioner assured that the Mr Dapo Abiodun-led administration remains committed to making Ogun State investors’ prefererred choice of destination as well as promoting policies such as the Public-Private-Partnership which would lead to the development of the agricultural value chain.

Also speaking, the Trade Promotion Advisor/ Head, Abeokuta Smart Office, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr Samson Idowu, said only 10 per cent of the 240 metric tonnes of cashew nuts grown in Nigeria is processed.

Mr Idowu said the need to diversify the economy from dependence on oil through increased cashew nut processing and exportation made the council donate the processing machine to the state in 2018 and also train the farmers on the latest techniques in cashew nut processing, adding that increased processing of the cash crop has the potential of making the gateway state an export hub.

The Chief Executive Officer of J22 Concerns Limited, Mr Yinka Akintola, said the company intends to process 500 kilograms of cashew nuts daily noting that the utilisation of the machine would create employment opportunities for indigenes of the area and bring about human capital development among the people.

He added that his company would also help cashew farmers in Imasayi and its environs expand their acreage of cashew plantation and yield as well as help position farmers in groups so as to access more funding for their business.

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Economy

Onions Can Attract Foreign Investors to Nigeria—Customs

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 By Adedapo Adesanya

The Onion Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (OPMAN) have inaugurated documented onion exports through Illela land border in Sokoto State.

At the launch of the programme yesterday, the Area Controller of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Mr Abdulrahameed Ma’aji, in charge of Sokoto and Zamfara states, urged producers and marketers to utilize the opportunity for enhanced production and trading.

Mr Ma’aji commended President Muhammadu Buhari for reopening the land borders for legitimate businesses, and lauded the efforts of the Comptroller General of NCS, Mr Hameed Ali, for keeping in tune with international best practices in customs’ responsibilities.

He described onion as a commodity with vast potentials that could attract foreign investors and create employment opportunities along with enhancing value addition to consumption and industrial use.

He said the NCS worked with stipulated laws and guidelines, to enhance trade and encourage domestic entrepreneurs individuals and groups to key into exports, for national economic growth.

“Despite COVID-19 pandemic, NCS provided proactive solutions to the public that will aid continued reliable and quality service delivery for the sustenance of global trade,” Mr Ma’aji said.

Also speaking at the occasion, the National President of OPMAN, Mr Aliyu Maitasamu, said onion was an important vegetable, whose distinctive flavour and medicinal content was appreciated by people throughout the world.

Mr Maitasamu noted that there is no household that does not consume onion, as it is being used as bulbs, onion powder, and others which serve as a raw material in the production of seasoning, ketchup, noodles, onion oil, onion jam, flakes by various food industries.

He explained that onion is used in pharmaceutical products, targeting the management of obesity, heart disease and cancer, due to its high vitamins, mineral and antioxidants content.

The President said based on these benefits, the union resolved to join hands with all onion exporters across the nation and take advantage of the federal government initiative on the diversification of the nation’s economy.

According to him, no fewer than 2,000 marketers engaged in the business, thousands engaged in its farming and other associated businesses, had been mobilised by the association.

“In line with the Federal Government plan to diversify the economy and create jobs, the union in conjunction with sister bodies in West and Central Africa developed an onion recovery plan which will target an average steady growth of 20 per cent each year, from 2020 to 2026.

“Nigeria is among the 10 top onion exporting countries in the world, and with a competitive advantage of producing the largest onion producing country in sub-Saharan Africa, with annual 1.4 million metric tonnes in output.

“With the present arrangement, Nigeria will continuously export onions to Niger Republic, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Benin Republic, Mali, Cote D’Ivoire, and others, with more expanding opportunities,” Mr Maitasamu said.

He added that with the commencement of documented export of onion and onion products, the commodity has the capacity to contribute greatly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), encourage repatriation of forex back to Nigeria and other value addition from the global map of onion exporting countries.

It was reported that the occasion was attended by Nigerian authorities, exporters and clearing agents, traditional rulers and representatives of law enforcement agencies.

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Economy

NAHCO GMD/CEO Resumes After 3-Week Suspension

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Adetokunbo Fagbemi

By Dipo Olowookere

The group managing director/chief executive of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc, Mrs Adetokunbo Fagbemi, has resumed at her duty post.

Mrs Fagbemi was earlier suspended by the board of the company, which is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

She was punished by the board over her failure to obey an instruction and for the period she was away from her office, she would be paid half salary.

A statement issued by the organisation explained that Mrs Fagbemi got into trouble when her team could not give cogent reasons why the equipment ordered overseas could not be delivered at the required time.

NAHCO had purchased equipment for the smooth running of its operations and the management was expected to secure the delivery of the item from the vendor within the contracted period.

She was specifically told to get the certified bill of lading for the equipment by February 2, 2021, and when she could not explain why this could not be achieved, she was asked to go on suspension from the next day.

Her seat was then occupied by the group executive director in charge of Corporate Services, Mr Olumuyiwa Olumekun.

“The GMD/CEO was suspended by the board at its meeting held on January 27, 2021. The suspension was due to management’s failure to diligently secure the delivery of a purchased equipment from the vendor within the contracted period and management’s inability to provide satisfactory/acceptable reason for the unreasonably very long delay.

“The suspension was in line with the board’s earlier decision that if a certified bill of lading for the equipment was not received by February 2, 2021, the GMD/CEO shall proceed on suspension with half pay until receipt of acceptable evidence of equipment shipment from the manufacturer,” a part of the statement signed by the company secretary, Bello Abdullahi, disclosed.

“The board is, however, pleased to inform the investing public and the exchange that on Tuesday, February 24, 2021, a satisfactory evidence of departure and arrival dates of the equipment has been received by the board from the equipment manufacturer.

“Consequently, the board at its emergency meeting on February 24 has recalled the GMD/CEO from the suspension and she has resumed work,” the statement added.

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Economy

CBN Retains One-Year OMO Bills Rate at 10.1%

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CBN OMO bills

By Dipo Olowookere

There was an Open Market Operations (OMO) conducted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday and it came 24 hours after the apex bank sold treasury bills to investors at the primary market.

The central bank offered the liquidity management tool to investors across three maturities during the session, with the stop rates remaining unchanged.

According to details of the exercise obtained by Business Post, the apex bank offered for sale N50.0 billion for a 96-day bill, another N50.0 billion for a 173-day bill and N230.0 billion for a 362-day bill and for the bids, investors showed a strong appetite for the long-dated maturity with N505.0 billion worth of subscriptions received.

However, the mid-term bill was slightly oversubscribed as bids valued at N54.1 billion were received, while the short-dated instrument was undersubscribed as only N45.5 billion was staked on it.

The CBN, thereafter, allotted the exact amount it auctioned for the respective bills, with N50.0 billion sold for the 96-day OMO bill, N50.0 billion for the 173-day OMO bill and N230.0 billion for the 362-day OMO bill.

Also, the central bank, as earlier stated, retained the stop rates for the respective maturity with the 3-month instrument clearing at 7.0 per cent, the 6-month instrument clearing at 8.5 per cent and the 12-month instrument clearing at 10.1 per cent.

Meanwhile, at the money market yesterday, Business Post observed that the average rates increased by 6.29 per cent on the back of the 6.10 per cent rise in the Open Buy Back (OBB) rate and 6.47 per cent jump in the Overnight (OVN) rate.

At the close of transactions, the OVN rate increased to 8.30 per cent, while the OBB rate rose to 7.60 per cent.

The rise in the rates was influenced by the debits from the recent sales of treasury bills by the central bank via the Nigerian Treasury Bills (NTB) and OMO bills, causing a squeeze in liquidity in the system.

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Economy

Court Convicts Farmer for Rice Investment Fraud

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Rice Farmers

By Dipo Olowookere

A farmer who hails from Taraba State, Mr Hassan Abubakar, has been convicted by a Gombe State High Court for criminal breach of trust.

The convict was punished for diverting the sum of N1.6 million he was to invest in a rice farming business jointly owned by him and another investor identified as Mr Abubakar Suleman.

Mr Suleman filed a petition to the zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Gombe State, accusing Mr Abubakar of using the money he invested in the business for another purpose.

This prompted the EFCC to swing into action and after having something concrete to nail on the convict, he was dragged before Justice Abubakar Jauro on 15 count charges bordering on criminal breach of trust.

He was arraigned in 2019 and one of the charges read, “That you Hassan Abubakar and Jamilu Abubakar (at large) sometimes in 2017 in Gombe, within the Jurisdiction of this court converted to your own use the sum of N208, 000 property of Abubakar Suleman and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 311 and punishable under Section 312 of the Penal Court Law”.

He pleaded not guilty, but Justice Jauro found him guilty because the prosecution, through its counsel, A. M. Ocholi, proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

He, thereafter, convicted and sentenced the defendant to one-year imprisonment on each of the 15 counts with the sentences to run consecutively.

However, the judge said the convict has an option to pay a fine of N75,000 and he has been ordered to pay the complainant the amount in question in restitution.

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Economy

Naira Gains 0.03% at I&E as Bitcoin Sells for N32.2m

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Bitcoin Naira

By Adedapo Adesanya

The wavy movement of the Naira at the foreign exchange market, especially at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window this continued on Thursday.

Yesterday, the value of the local currency paired with the United States Dollar appreciated just a day after it depreciated.

During the trading session, the Nigerian currency was strengthened by 0.03 per cent or 13 kobo to trade at N408.67/$1 compared to N408/80/$1 it traded the previous day.

One of the major factors that supported this was the decline in the pressure on the domestic currency as FX traders had enough supply to meet the demands of their customers.

On Thursday, transactions worth $43.97 million were recorded as against the $123.37 million worth of trades recorded at the midweek session, indicating a decrease in the turnover by $79.4 million or 64.4 per cent.

Bu at the parallel market segment, the local currency closed flat against the American currency on Thursday at N480/$1.

The Naira also traded flat against the Pound Sterling and the Euro at the same black market yesterday at N670/£1 and N582/€1 respectively.

Equally, at the interbank segment of the market, the Naira sustained its stability against the greenback at N379/$1 and at the Bureaux De Change (BDC) window, the Naira maintained its previous rate against the Dollar at N395/$.

Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency market continued to witness fluctuations. At the market on Thursday, the Bitcoin (BTC) gained 3.3 per cent to trade at N32,204,465.99.

For the Dash (DASH), it appreciated by 5.2 per cent to sell at N150,000, the Litecoin (LTC) grew by 6.7 per cent to close at N127,000, while the US Dollar Tether (USDT) improved by 5.3 per cent to settle at N685.00.

However, the Ethereum (ETH) lost 2.7 per cent to sell at N1, 060,100.99, the Ripple (XRP) recorded a 0.9 per cent loss to trade at N309.99, while Tron (TRX) declined by 1.4 per cent to sell at N31.50.

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