CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
By Obinna Chima
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) last week offered a total of $270 million at its regulated Wholesale Dutch Auction System (WDAS). This, represented a decrease in the amount of the greenback offered by the regulator by $20 million, compared to the $250 million sold the preceding week.
The reduction in dollar supply was as a result of the traditional month-end dollar inflow from multinational companies operating in the country. However, the naira dipped marginally against the dollar as it closed at N155.74 to a dollar last week, compared to the N155.73 to a dollar the preceding week.
But at the interbank segment, the naira appreciated slightly by 10 kobo to close at N157.21 to a dollar last week, as against the N157.31 to a dollar it attained the preceding week.
CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi said last week that the relative stability of the exchange rate and the fiscal direction of the Federal Government would be key factors in determining the next direction of interest rates.
“We need to watch the continuation of the current stance of fiscal consolidation. High rates have delivered stable exchange rates, increase in reserves and stable inflation; I don’t think we should take that for granted,” he had said.
Sanusi also forecasts that January 2013 inflation numbers will be close to 10 percent, adding that “we think that will be very much a reflection of base effects. We think that by and large, average inflation in 2013 will be lower than 2012, but keeping it at less than 10 percent for most part of the year will be very difficult.”
The Nigerian Interbank Offered Rate (NIBOR) climbed to an average of 13.04 per cent on Friday, compared to the 12.24 per cent it attained the preceding Friday as the Open Market Operations (OMO) activities drained liquidity from the system.
In line with its OMO, the CBN sold a total of N74 billion bills with 13-day and 27-day tenor respectively on Friday. It also sold a total of N184.07 billion bills with 14-day and 21-day tenor last Tuesday.
Data made available by the Financial Market Dealers Association (FMDA) showed that while the Overnight tenor climbed to 11.91 per cent on Friday, as against the 11.12 per cent it stood the preceding Friday, the 7-day tenor also jumped to 12.25 per cent on Friday, from 11.67 per cent the preceding Friday.
In addition, just as the 30-day tenor advanced to 12.75 per cent on Friday, from 12.04 per cent the preceding Friday, the 60-day tenor also increased to 13.04 per cent, from 12.58 per cent.
THISDAY reported last week that the current Executive Director, Corporate and International/Investment Banking and Treasury, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Mr. Philip Ikeazor, has been appointed the substantive Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Keystone Bank Limited.
Sources close to CBN told THISDAY that Ikeazor would take over from Dr. Shehu Muhammad, who has been acting as the bank's managing director since October, last year. THISDAY learnt that Ikeazor was appointed following a recruitment exercise that was conducted by a leading international accounting firm for candidates that applied for the job.
The federal government last week disclosed that many companies across the globe have indicated interest in investing a total of N8.5 trillion in the country. Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga said that the investment commitments were from reputable international firms.
Aganga explained: “Our foreign investment drive is bringing results with foreign investment commitments hitting N8.5 trillion and this are going to be for the next five years.
“According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), we attracted $8.9 billion in foreign investment last year, the largest in Africa and this also makes us one of the best investment destinations in the world. We now have an integrated trade and investment policy which was lacking for a long time.”
He had also pointed out that the free trade zones got a boost with about N6 billion in investment in 2012, adding that the business climate was now more investor friendly with the fast-tracking of business registration by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) last week said it realised non-oil taxes of about N1.806 trillion, representing 36.07 per cent of total revenue of N5.007 trillion generated last year. It said oil taxes accounted for N3.201 trillion (about 63.93 per cent) in 2012, compared to and N3.070 trillion in 2011. The figures showed that the revenue collection agency remarkably overshot its budget of N3.635trillion for all taxes last year.
The FIRS Director, Communications and Liaison Department, Mr. Emmanuel Obeta, said compared to its 2011 figures, current collection grew by N379.4 billion or 8.20 per cent. The contribution of non-oil taxes increased from N1.557 trillion or 33.65 in 2011 to N1.806 trillion or 36.07 per cent last year.
"This performance reflects the service’s unwavering commitment to its vision of making taxation the pivot of national development. It is note-worthy in this regard, that all the non-oil components of the taxes collected by the Service maintained the rising trend seen in previous years," the agency added.
In a bold step aimed at ensuring that Nigerian banks are not exposed to the ongoing economic crisis in the euro zone, the CBN last week directed commercial banks to furnish it with details of the European Investment Bank’s (EIB’s) investments in their institutions.
Deputy Governor, Operations, CBN, Mr. Tunde Lemo, had in a chat with THISDAY explained that with the developments in the euro zone, the EIB may decide to call back some of its funds in Nigeria.
Lemo added: “I believe that given what is happening in the euro zone, it is unlikely that the EIB may start to call back shortly. We are just trying to dimension the impact of that exposure to Nigerian banks in the event of recall. It is not more than a pre-emptive measure.”
THISDAY last week reported that the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, has designated seven judges of the court to handle debt recovery petitions filed by AMCON.
The judges are: Justices Ibrahim Buba, John Tsoho, Mohammed Idris, Okon Abang, Chukwujekwu Aneke, Elvis Chukwu and Ramat Mohammed.
Investigations by THISDAY revealed that while five of the judges are currently sitting in the Lagos division of the court, two are in Abuja. It was further revealed that the decision to designate the judges might not be unconnected with difficulties AMCON confronts in the recovery of debts owed the corporation for loans obtained by businessmen and their companies from the banks.
In designating the seven judges, Justice Auta complied with Section 53 of the AMCON Act, which empowers him, in his capacity as the chief judge, to assign judges to hear AMCON’s petitions on debt recovery.
The Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada, Chief Ojo Maduekwe last week disclosed that the volume of trade between Nigeria and Canada had risen to $2.7 billion with the country being Canada’s largest trading partner in Africa. Maduekwe added that in spite of Nigeria’s security challenges, the country remains one of the most profitable countries to do business because of the huge market available. Investors, he said, were able to weigh the risks against the opportunities available in Nigeria.
“Mexico is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, yet what you see on cable television make you wonder how people still exist there due to the number of deaths from fight among drug cartels. Even Iraq had major companies moving in to establish,” he said further.