The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released the sum of $265 million to airlines operating in the country to settle outstanding ticket sales in an apparent move to check a brewing crisis in the country’s aviation sector.
A breakdown of the figure released on Friday indicates that the sum of $230 million was given as special Forex intervention while another sum of $35 million was released through the Retail SMIS auction.
Confirming the release, the Director, Corporate Communications Department at the CBN, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, said the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and his team were concerned about the development and what it portends for the sector and travelers as well as the country in the comity of nations.
Nwanisobi reiterated that the Bank was not against any company repatriating its funds from the country, adding that what the Bank stood for was an orderly exit for those that might be interested in doing so.
With Friday’s release, it is expected that operators and travellers as well will heave huge sighs of relief, as some airlines had threatened to withdraw their services in the face of unremitted funds for the outstanding sale of tickets.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has advised Nigerians to resist the urge of succumbing to the speculative activities of some players in the foreign exchange market.
It gave the advice in the face of rising demand for foreign exchange for both goods and services by Nigerians.
CBN’s Director of Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi, who briefed reporters on Thursday in Abuja said the apex bank remained committed to resolving the foreign exchange issues confronting the nation and as such has been working to manage both the demand and supply side challenges.
While admitting that there was huge demand pressure for foreign exchange to meet the needs of manufacturers and for the payment of tuition, medical fees and other Invisibles, Nwanisobi said the bank was concerned about the international value of the naira.
He added that the monetary authority was strategising to help Nigeria earn more stable and sustainable inflows of foreign exchange in the face of dwindling inflows from the oil sector.
Specifically, Nwanisobi said the recent initiatives undertaken by the bank such as the RT200 FX Programme and the Naira4Dollar rebate scheme have helped to increase foreign exchange inflow to the country.
According to him, the bank’s records showed that foreign exchange inflow through the RT200 FX Programme in the first and second quarters of 2022 increased significantly to about $600 million as of June 2022.
The CBN spokesman disclosed that the Naira4Dollar incentive also increased the volume of diaspora remittances during the first half of the year.
He said interventions such as the 100 for 100 Policy on Production and Productivity, Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) and the Non-Oil Export Stimulation Facility (NESF), among others, were also geared toward diversifying the economy, enhancing the inflow of foreign exchange, stimulating production and reducing foreign exchange demand pressure.
Nwanisobi gave an assurance that the bank would continue to make a deliberate effort in the foreign exchange sector to avert a further downward slide in the value of the naira which he observed was fuelled by speculative tendencies.
Reiterating an earlier position of the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, he urged Nigerians to play their role by adjusting their consumption patterns, looking inwards and finding innovative solutions to the country’s challenges.
The CBN spokesman submitted that monetary policy alone could not bear all the burden of the expected adjustments needed to manage the challenges around Nigeria’s foreign exchange.
“It’s our collective duty as Nigerians to shore up the value of the naira,” he said.
According to him, it was the right option considering economic realities.
“The committee resolved that the most rational policy option would be to further strengthen its tightening stance in order to effectively curtail the unabated rising trend of inflation,” Emefiele said.
“Members were conscious of the fact that output growth remained fragile. However, not curtailing inflation now could erode the monetary gains achieved in improving consumer purchasing power and thus worsen the poverty level for the vulnerable populace.”
The monetary policy rate (MPR) is the main interest rate in a country or economy on which all other interest rates in that economy are based.
While the apex bank increased the MPR rate, it, however, retained other parameters.
The asymmetric corridor remains +100 and -700 basis points around the MPR, and the well as Cash Reserved Ratio (CRR) at 27 percent.
He added, “Committee thus vote unanimously to raise the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR). One member voted to increase the MPR by 150 basis points, six members by 100 basis points, one member by 75 basis points and three members by 50 basis points.
“Consequently, Committee resolved to increase the MPR by 100 basis points from 13 percent to 14 percent. In summary, MPC voted as follows:
“Increase MPR to 14% from 13, retain the Asymmetric Corridor at +100 and -700 basis points around the MPR, retain the CRR at 27.5 percent and retain liquidity ratio at 30 percent.”
Tuesday’s rate hike marks the second time, the MPC will raise the interest rate in two months.
The MPC increased the rate from 11.5 percent to 13 percent on May 24.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, Dr Muda Yusuf, is worried about the implication of the new interest rate for the economy.
Although the MPC expects the step to tame inflation, Dr Yusuf, thinks the opposite may be the case.
“I am concerned about MPR hike because it will burden manufacturers and investors; factors driving inflation in Nigeria different from factors driving inflation in other countries CBN is comparing Nigeria with,” he said during an appearance on Channels Television’s live show on the MPC decision.
President Muhammadu Buhari says it’s not in his place to determine if the political ambition of Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, infringes on any laws that affects his productivity.
Buhari stated this on Tuesday during his interview with Bloomberg.
There have been debates around the central bank’s independence following the governor showing interest in running for presidency, however, Buhari was of the opinion that his is to appoint and the appointment is subject to confirmation by the Nigerian Senate.
According to the president, “Ultimately, it will be for the CBN’s board of directors to determine whether a CBN governor’s actions have fallen foul of the laws in place to ensure he can most effectively carry out his duties”.
President Buhari, however, asserted that there is a subtext to the accusations, stressing that “because the governor follows a model outside of the economic orthodoxy, he is labelled political”.
He further argued that the orthodoxy has proved wrong time and again.
“Instead, the governor is following an alternative economic model that puts people at the heart of policy.
“Nigeria should be free to choose its development model and how to construct our economy, so it functions for Nigerians,” President Buhari buttressed.
Reacting to questions regarding security, the president said that his administration is the only one in Nigeria’s history to implement a solution to decades-long herder/farmer conflicts, exacerbated by desertification and demographic growth.
He explained that the National Livestock Transformation Plan, putting ranching at its core, is the only way to deplete the competition for resources at the core of the clashes.
According to him, governors from some individual states have sought to play politics where ranches have been established; but where they have been disputes have dramatically reduced.
Speaking further as to the war against terror, President Buhari explained that in 2015, Boko Haram held territory the size of Belgium within the borders of Nigeria, adding that today, however, the terrorists are close to extinct as a military force.
Buhari while reaffirming that a leader of ISWAP was eliminated by a Nigerian Airforce airstrike in March, noted that the jets acquired from the US and intelligence shared by the British were not provided to previous administrations and stand as testament to renewed trust re-built between Nigeria and her traditional western allies under his government.
The Chairman of the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, says sensitive electoral materials will in the meantime no longer be routed through the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He also specifically notes that, beginning from the Ekiti State Governorship election, INEC will not keep its sensitive materials with the CBN.
According to him, this decision is to guarantee that electoral materials for the lined up Elections are not compromised
The INEC Chairman stated this while responding to questions in an ongoing dialogue in Abuja.
Several individuals and groups have raised serious concern about the sanctity of Elections materials kept with the CBN, after stories about the CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, indicating interest to contest for the country’s presidential seat hit the airwaves in recent months.
Discharged bankers under the aegis of the Association of Ex-Staff of Non-Consolidated Banks Of Nigeria have given the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) an ultimatum to pay their N5.7billion benefits.
The Chairman of the association, Magnus Maduka, issued the ultimatum on behalf of the members on Friday during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, about two weeks after they won in court.
“The judge said he gave them (CBN and NDIC) three months to pay up, failing which the delay will begin to attract 10 per cent interest on the sum,” he said.
A National Industrial Court in Lagos had on May 23 ordered the Federal Government agencies to pay over N5.7bn terminal benefits to more than 1,000 bank workers affected by the re-capitalisation exercise of 2006.
The money, according to Justice Paul Bassi, is to be paid within three months from the date of judgment failing which would attract 10 per cent interest until liquidated.
About two weeks after the court judgement, the former bankers issued a month’s ultimatum for the CBN and the NDIC for payment of the said benefits to them.
“We gave them one month anyway because we can’t be on this forever,” Maduka added. “If central bank and the NDIC want to save themselves unnecessary problems, they should just grant every staff of those banks, including those that joined last week before the shutdown of the banks their terminal benefits.”
When asked if both agencies had contacted the former bankers on the implementation of the court judgement, Maduka replied in the negative.
He, however, stated that the CBN and the NDIC were aware of the order as they had their lawyers in court on the day the verdict was passed.
According to him, the N5.7 billion benefits would cover the 1,116 former bank workers, as well as those he said, were sending in their letters of credit.
Anambra State Governor Chukwuma Soludo has vowed to fish out the killers of Harirat Jubril and her four children, saying the development has left the people of the state in “shock”.
The governor said this in a state-wide broadcast in Awka on Wednesday as he assured that security agencies are working to make that happen.
“Over the past one week, Ndi Anambra and indeed the nation have been treated to the gory stories of the kidnapping and subsequent beheading of Hon Okechukwu Okoye (member of the State House of Assembly) and his aide, Cyril Chiegboka (both from my community, Isuofia) as well as the brutal murder Mrs Harirat Jubril from Adamawa state and her four children and three other northerners,” the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor said.
“Anambra people have been in shock. This is not who we are. Our deepest condolences are with the families of the various victims. We are working round the clock with the security agencies and the perpetrators must be brought to book.”
Aside from his condemnation of the recent killings in the southeast state, he also imposed a curfew on six local government areas as part of efforts to tackle the challenges.
“With effect from tomorrow, Thursday, 26th May 2022, a 6 pm to 6 am curfew is hereby placed on motorcycles (Okada), tricycles (Keke), and shuttle buses in the Aguata, Ihiala, Ekwusigo, Nnewi North, Nnewi South, Ogbaru, Orumba North and Orumba South Local Governments until further notice,” Soludo said as he called on residents of the state to liaise with him to make the state liveable.
“Until further notice also, motorcycles, Keke, and shuttle buses are banned from operating in these local governments on Mondays until the Sit-at-Home completely stops.”
“The youths of every community in the zone are hereby enjoined to assist the security agencies in the implementation of this policy and are mandated to seize any such motorcycle or tricycle on the spot,” the governor added.
“Local Vigilantes should report such motorcycles or tricycles (Keke) immediately, and they will be confiscated by the government and the owner prosecuted.
“The sharp rise in inflation across both the advanced and emerging market economies has generated growing concerns among central banks as the progressive rise in inflation driven by rising aggregate demands and wage growth has put sustainable pressure on price levels,” said Emefiele.
“Consequently, the major central banks such as the U.S. Fed, the Bank of England, European Central Bank, and Bank of Canada have provided strong guidance of a progressive shift away from monetary policy accommodation to drive market interest rate which may ultimately impact capital flows away from emerging market economies.”
Emefiele explained that at the 285th meeting of the MPC, six out of the 11 members of the committee voted to raise the key rate.
According to him, the committee also voted to retain the asymmetric corridor at +100 and -700 basis points around the MPR, as well as Cash Reserved Ratio (CRR) at 27 per cent.
The committee, the CBN governor stated, also voted to retain all other parameters. He advised the various banks in the country and the Federal Government to redouble efforts in supporting monetary authority.
The National Industrial Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) to pay over N5.7bn terminal benefits to over 1,000 bank workers affected by the re-capitalisation exercise of 2006.
The money is to be paid within three months from the date of judgment failing which it will attract 10 percent interest until liquidated.
Justice Paul Bassi made the order while delivering judgment on Monday in the case filed by 1,116 claimants who had approached the court since 2018.
The court also ordered the CBN and the NDIC to pay another N10m as general damages to the claimants.
Shouts of joy
Shouts of joy emanated from the representatives of the bank workers after the court delivered judgment in their favour.
It’s a battle they’ve fought since the consolidation exercise of 2006 which saw banks recapitalised from N2bn to N25bn.
Their banks did not meet the recapitalization requirements and their banking licenses were revoked by the CBN which appointed the NDIC as the liquidator.
The bank workers then sued the two organisations demanding the payment of their terminal benefits.
The two defendants raised several objections, insisting among other things they were not the employers of the workers and the suit disclosed no cause of action against them.
In his judgment, Justice Bassi dismissed the preliminary objections of the defendants and held while they may have acted in the general good by raising the capital base of banks in the country, it should not be done at the expense of the former employees.
By revoking the banking licenses of the non-consolidated banks, the defendants interfered with the employment contracts of the bank workers, a contract which would ordinarily have run its natural course with the claimants paid their benefits at the end.
The court then ordered the CBN and the NDIC to pay the workers within three months from the date of judgment failing which which it will attract 10 percent interest until liquidated.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, has withdrawn the suit he filed against the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Attorney-General of the Federation over his presidential ambition.
Emefiele, through his counsel, Sylvanus Maliki, told Justice Ahmed Mohammed that a notice of discontinuance had been filed and served on the defendants in the matter.
Maliki, who held the brief of Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, said though the matter was scheduled for a mention, they had Emefiele’s instruction to withdraw the suit.
He prayed the court to discontinue the suit and make an order striking it out, issues having not been joined by parties in the suits, citing Order 50 of the rules of this court.
Although counsel to the fourth defendant, John Aikpokpo-Martins, opposed Emefiele’s intention to withdraw the suit, he urged the court to dismiss the suit with N1.5 million cost.
In his ruling, Justice Mohammed held that Emefiele had the right to file the notice of withdrawal. He said the notice of discontinuance was valid and accordingly struck out.
On May 9, the CBN governor sued INEC, the AGF, and three others before the Federal High Court in Abuja, seeking the enforcement of his right to contest the 2023 presidential election without resigning from his current position.
Mr Emiefele told the court that he could contest the office of the President without vacating his position as the CBN governor, in line with the Constitution.
He informed the court that Section 84 ((12) of the Electoral Act as amended, 2022 does not affect him, being a public servant and not a political appointee.
In an ex parte motion filed due to the urgency of the matter, the CBN governor’s counsel, Ozekhome, said his client was in a dilemma if he could run and when he must leave his office.
He argued that the section of the Electoral Act had been voided by a Federal High Court in Umuahia and that the matter was on appeal at the time.