Nigeria’s telecoms giant, MTN has appointed a former Central Bank governor and current Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi as a Non-Executive Director effective July 1, 2019.
The appointment of the Emir is part of a board room shake-up at Africa’s biggest wireless carrier, which will also see the on-boarding of South Africa’s former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas as a new group chairman.
In Nigeria, the appointment of the vocal former CBN chief Sanusi comes as MTN prepares to list its local unit on the Nigerian stock exchange, a condition of the settlement of a $1 bn regulatory action three years ago.
MTN also announced a separate board of prominent people to advise on broader African issues, which will be headed by former South African president Thabo Mbeki and includes John Kufuor, a former president of Ghana.
The former South African Central Bank Governor, Tito Mboweni, has taken over as the country’s Finance Minister.
Mr Mboweni’s appointment follows the resignation of the former Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene.
South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, said on Tuesday that he had accepted the resignation of Nhlanhla Nene and appointed Tito Mboweni as his replacement.
Nene faced calls to resign after he admitted visiting the Gupta brothers, friends of scandal-plagued former president Jacob Zuma who have been accused of high-level influence-peddling, and failing to disclose the meetings earlier.
Zuma and the Guptas have denied any wrongdoing.
The rand firmed moments before Mboweni was announced finance minister at a ceremony in Cape Town.
Ramaphosa said he had received a resignation letter from Nene and had decided to accept it.
“It’s a measure of his character and commitment to the country that he has decided to resign despite not being implicated in any wrongdoing,” the president said.
“I am confident that Mr Mboweni will bring the leadership that is needed now,” Ramaphosa said.
“As the former governor of the Reserve bank and before that as minister of labour Mr Mboweni brings with him vast experience in areas of finance, economic policy as well as governance.”
Nene became a divisive figure in the scandal after acknowledging in a hearing that he had visited the Gupta brothers at their homes in Johannesburg, a confession his opponents said tarnished his credentials. He publicly apologized on Friday.
The Gupta brothers – Ajay, Atul and Rajesh – have been accused of using their friendship with Zuma, Ramaphosa’s predecessor, to siphon off billions of rand in state funds and of inappropriately influencing cabinet appointments.
The crisis over the finance minister had thrown a spotlight on Ramaphosa’s promise to crack down on corruption and boost economic growth.
The Monetary Policy Committee in Nigeria has retained a 14% Monetary Policy Rate at the end of its first meeting for 2017.
The rate was announced by the Governor of the Central Bank, Mr Godwin Emefiele, at the end of the meeting held on Tuesday in the nation’s capital, Abuja.
He said the decision was reached after the committee members considered the economic outlook of Africa’s largest economy.
“The Committee in consideration of the headwinds in the domestic economies and uncertainties in the global environment, decided by a unanimous vote to retain the MPR a 14% alongside all other policy parameters,” he stated.
Briefing reporters at the end of the meeting, Mr Emefiele said: “With output growth improving sluggishly, the outlook for 2017 remains unchanged, owing to persisting uncertainties on commodity prices and volatility in financial market as well as slowing demand in the advanced economies and emerging market.
“The MPC welcomed the modest increase in oil prices following the last OPEC decision to cut output and noted the increase in the policy rate of the United States FED in December 2016 and the potential implications of that decision on international interest rates and capital flows.
“While noting the materiality of the cut in oil output, the committee cautioned that the effect could rapidly wane giving a likelihood of a supply glut from non-OPEC members, low level of global economic activity and weak growth”.
He also stated that the committee observed that the medium term outlook continued to be muffled by stagnation and uncertainty in the prospects of global trade, subdued investments and heightened policy uncertainty especially in some major economies.
Mr Emefiele, however, observed that the IMF had estimated that the constraints would decline, paving way for mild improvements in economic growth from 3.1% in 2016 to 3.4% in 2017.
On the Capital Market the Central Bank Governor said: “The Committee welcomes the improvement in the equities segment of the Capital Market, as the All Share Index rose by 2.84% from 25,499 on November 21, 2016 to 26,223.54 on January 20, 2016”.
The committee said available data on key economic variables showed a more stable economy in 2017, saying growth is expected to turn positive, as the fiscal state becomes more accommodative.
“The agricultural sector is expected to play a more significant role in driving growth, giving the expansion of Anchor Grower Programme and other developmental initiatives of the Federal Government,” he further said, reading from resolutions reached at the meeting.
The liquidity ratio and the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) were also unchanged.
While the liquidity ratio remains 30% the CRR is 22.50%.
It also retained the asymmetric corridor at +200 and -500 basis points around the MPR.
Ten out of 11 members of the committee were present at the meeting.
The federal government needs to evaluate its domestic indebtedness to domestic economic agents and develop settlement plans.
This is part of considerations of members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), at its final meeting for 2016.
In a communiqué issued at the end of its two-day meeting in Abuja, the committee explained that the country’s debt profile has resulted among other things, to a slow down in economic activities.
Addressing the meeting, Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said: “members stressed the need for a robust and more keenly coordinated micro-economic policy framework that would restart output growth and stimulate aggregate demand.
“Consequently, the MPC welcomes efforts at resuscitating planning, noting the progress made in developing the medium term economic recovery plan.
“The MPC urges the government to assess the extent of its indebtedness to domestic economic agents, and develop a framework for securitizing the debts, in order to settle its outstanding domestic contraction obligations, which cuts across all sectors of the economy,” Mr Emefiele stated.
The meeting which is aimed at facilitating the attainment of price stability and supporting the economic policy of the Federal Government, came to an end on November 22, 2016.
The Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, says in less than five years, Nigeria would become self-sufficient in rice production, going by the actions and on-going support of the government to farmers and Nigerians interested in farming.
Mr Emefiele who led the Presidential Task Force on rice and wheat production to Cross River state for an assessment tour, said three billion out of the 26 billion set aside for the anchor borrowers’ programme has been given to Cross River where up to 78,000 farmers are expected to benefit from the rice production programme.
The State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade said Cross River has set aside 18,000 square km of land for rice farming, with 5,800 participating farmers and another 12,000 set to join in the next planting season.
He therefore expressed optimism about the state’s rice yield in the near future.
Although the CBN Chief believes that forex restriction on rice importation will boost Nigeria’s chances of rice sufficiency before 2020, chairman of the Presidential Task Force on rice and wheat, Senator Atiku Bagudu, expects significant sufficiency by 2017.
Nigeria consumes about 6 million metric tonnes of rice per annum but produces less than half of that.
There are currently 40 integrated rice mills in the country, which are expected to process up to 5 metric tonnes of rice per hour.
Meanwhile, the country has 36 silos targeted to store up to 100 million metric tonnes of rice.
Mr Emefiele insists that the nation’s scarce foreign reserve would not be used to import any agricultural product the nation has in abundance.
He emphasised that the bank is set to support anyone ready to farm rice, cassava, palm, and other agricultural products to feed the nation and create export opportunities.
Nigerians have been asked to refocus the nation’s priorities by diversifying the economy into other areas such as agriculture, mineral resources and tourism among others rather than crude oil as a way of repositioning the dwindling economy.
The Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, in his lecture at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies on Friday, told participants that the impetus to strengthen institutional mechanism for poverty reduction and inclusive development could only be achieved with citizen’s reorientation.
Nigerians must depend less on foreign goods and look inward rather than being an importing nation, he stressed.
Mr Emefiele was the guest lecturer at the Senior Executive Course organised for 38 participants at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru in Jos, Plateau State.
He addressed the participants on different issues bordering on the economic situation that has been bothering Nigerians especially on the role of the apex bank in finding solutions to the economy that has glided into recession.
Looking at the dilemma of policy making amidst complicated and competing choices in revamping the economy, the Central Bank Governor did not mince words while speaking on the title, ‘managing monetary policy in turbulent times’.
He called for diversification of the economy away from crude oil to other sectors, including agriculture which was the mainstay of the nation’s economy before the discovery of the black gold.
With the Central Bank Governor’s conviction that diversifying the economy from overdependence on crude oil into other areas, particularly agriculture, is the way out of recession, the impetus to achieve this objective should be vigorously and diligently applied and monitored so that the dividends will be enjoyed by Nigerians.
The National Economic Council (NEC) retreat is expected to hold on Monday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.
President Muhammadu Buhari will be addressing the members during the opening ceremony of the retreat.
The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajor, who is chairman of the forum, is expected to preside over the event that will commence by 9:00am local time at the Old Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa.
Thirty-six state governors will be attending.
The Central Bank Governor and the Budget and Planning Minister are among those expected at the forum.
A spokesman for the Vice President, Laolu Akande, said that the objective of the National Economic Council Retreat was to provide a forum for in-depth discussions by NEC members of the policy actions that the States and the Federal Government could consider in order to stimulate local production, cut costs and enhance public revenues among other measures to stimulate the economy.
Contrary to suggestions, the Retreat is not an emergency national economic conference.
The idea was mooted at the last regular NEC meeting in January, where members requested an intensive session to review economic trends and evolve strategies to cope.
An economist, Austin Nweze, has criticised the recent decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria on the monetary policy of the nation.
This follows the recent decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to discontinue its sales of foreign exchange to the Bureau de Change operators and allowing banks to accept foreign currency cash deposits from their customers.
Mr Nweze said the inconsistency of the monetary policy had unsettled people and businesses.
“Companies are waiting, hoping that the CBN will reverse itself. Some companies I know have left the country because of this kind of policy,” he said.
The economist urged policy makers to make policies that will forecast future complications from the start.
“They should be far thinking to know the implication from the beginning; to know the implication to the economy, to the people before you engage yourself in this kind of policy.”
Mr Nweze, however, believes that the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, wants to develop the manufacturing sector, but expresses worries that the capacity to take risk is not there.
“His comments shows that he wants the manufacturing sector to thrive in this country but doesn’t want to take a risk or maybe he doesn’t have the peril to take that kind of risk.”
The economist suggested that the CBN should meet with other stakeholders to deliberate on the type of economy on ground and what they want to achieve.
He also criticised the method being used in the anti-corruption fight, saying the government should focus on other things.
“All we see is expose. The institutions should be allowed to fight this thing and the government should focus on other things,” Nweze said.
He added that ‘all problem is not really corruption, all corruption lies in education’.
The Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, has reiterated the bank’s stance on not devaluing the naira as many Nigerians would expect.
According to him, the naira is appropriately priced at the moment.
He, however, noted that the bank would continue to monitor the economy before it fashions out modalities to commence the devaluation.
The CBN boss, who spoke at the Monetary Policy Committee meeting in Abuja, also told journalists that the monetary policy rate has also been left unchanged at 13% following key macro economic indicators in the nation’s financial system
The Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, says the deadline for the commencement of single currency in January 2015 by the Economic Community of West African States is not likely to be achieved.
At the ongoing meeting of the West African Central Bank Governors holding in Abuja, Mr Emefiele, on Wednesday, called on leaders in the region to redouble efforts in maintaining fiscal and monetary supervision in their countries.
“It is unlikely at this time. Despite this disappointing update, we need to use the new period created by this to redouble our efforts toward the final realisation of this objectives.
“In this regard, there is need for the intensification of effort towards meeting the laid down convergence material, in sensitisation of all stakeholders in the ratification of various West African monetary zone protocols and in their consequent implementation,” Mr Emefiele said.
He also called for an enabling environment that would boost regional trade integration amongst members of the ECOWAS.
the Nigeria’s apex bank boss emphasised that, as Central Banks and Financial regulators efforts must be made to continue to develop a sound banking and payment system that would be efficient, reliable, integrated and capable of facilitating the required rapid trade expansion in the region.