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AbokiFX Founder, Oniwinde Adedotun, Risks 2-years Imprisonment


AbokiFX founder, Oniwinde Adedotun, risks 2-years imprisonment, N600,000 fine amid CBN crackdown

The founder of abokiFX, Oniwinde Adedotun, is reportedly under investigation by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for a number of alleged infractions.

If the reports are true, he risks two years imprisonment, as well as N600,000 fine, if found guilty.

Both Adedotun and his company, abokiFX Limited, which tracks foreign exchange rates across the country since 2014, are being probed for alleged manipulation of forex, illegal foreign exchange transactions and reports on parallel market forex price amid rise in FX rates against the naira.

Alleged manipulation and report of forex rates attracts 2-years jailterm, N600,000 fine

Adedotun is reportedly being probed for manipulating foreign exchange rate after the naira continued to weaken against the dollar, pound, and euro significantly in the past two weeks on the parallel market.

Ripples NigeriaNaira exchanges for N562 per dollar, as CBN moves to stop the slide analysis of abokiFX parallel report shows that the naira had depreciated by 7.5 percent (-N40) against the dollar, down 7.1 percent (-N48) against the British pound, and decreased in value by 5 1 percent (-N32) against the euro in two weeks.

As of this morning, the naira exchanged at N570 to $1, while Great Britain pound is sold at N770, and euro currency is exchanged at N655 in the parallel market, according to abokiFX.

The report of these FX movements, is however, against the National Intelligence Committee Act of 2004, Ripples Nigeria findings showed. The law states that any persons or company reporting a different forex price aside from that of CBN, is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction.

The law reads in Section 11; subsection 1C, that, “(1) It shall be an offence for any person, association of individuals or body corporate (whether public or private) to – (c) publish or cause to be published exchange and interest rates other than the rates determined by the Bank from time to time.”

Any person culpable of an offense, will pay a fine of N100,000 or jailed for a term of two years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

In the case of an organisation, which is that of abokiFX, a fine of N500,000 and the suspension or revocation of its certificate of registration or certificate of incorporation will be issued.

CBN to investigate seven accounts of Adedotun, abokiFX

The CBN had also reportedly requested for transaction details from January 01, 2019, to date, of four accounts owned by Adedotun, and three accounts belonging to abokiFX Limited, from January.

AbokiFX is mostly used by Nigerians and other parallel market customers to monitor forex movements – the platform’s influence in the forex system makes it the 63rd most visited website in Nigeria, as of the time this report was filed.

Note that abokiFX has been an aggregator or reference sales point for persons and businesses dealing in forex transactions – the one-stop FX aggregator is dependent on Bureau De Change operators market prices which were usually sourced offline before the advent of abokiFX.

What you need to know about Nigeria’s parallel market?

The parallel market is a vital part of Nigeria’s forex circulation, unburdening the commercial banks in forex transactions, to prevent FX scarcity – although the CBN had recently severe ties with the Bureau De Change operators, accusing them of financial infractions.

The CBN stopped providing forex to the BDC operators, but despite the restriction, more Nigerians prefer to conduct foreign exchange at the parallel market due to its value of forex compared to the FX deal offered by banks, which is rated low.

Effort to reach CBN’s Osita Nwanisobi for comments on the investigation proved abortive as he busied calls to his line, neither did he respond to text message sent to his line.

But following a call to CBN’s complaint line, a rep of the apex bank stated that she’s not aware of the information, but anyone transacting with the Bureau De Change operators is doing so without CBN protection.


NERC approves N21b for purchase of meters

Govt directs electricity companies to charge Nigerians per hour

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has announced the approval of N21 billion for 11 electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) to provide meters for customers.

This announcement was made in NERC’s ORDER NO: NERC/2024/072 on The Operationalisation of “Tranche A” of the Presidential Metering Initiative Under the Framework of Meter Acquisition Fund.

”The order signed by NERC Chairman, Mr Sanusi Garba and Commissioner Legal,  Dafe Akpeneye, shall become effective from June 2024 and may be amended or revoked by subsequent orders issued by the commission.

“The commission hereby approves the  sum of N21 billion apportioned pro rata to contribution by the DisCos as Tranche A of the MAF scheme.

”Attached to this order as Schedule 1 is a breakdown of the funds available for each DisCo for the purchase of end-use customer meters.

”All the meters to be procured and installed under the MAF framework shall be at no cost to the customers of the DisCos,” it said.

According to NERC, it introduced the Meter Asset Provider (“MAP”) Regulations 2018 and subsequently, the Meter Asset Provider and National Mass Metering (“MAP&NMMR”) Regulations in 2021 to address metering challenges in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (“NESI“).

NERC said that the regulations provided several options for metering end-use customers but the interventions, though significant, had not resulted in the closure of the national metering gap which currently stood in excess of seven million customers.

”The inability of distribution companies (DisCos) to raise financing in the form of debt or additional equity was identified as the major constraint in the acquisition and deployment of end-use meters and other capital investments.

”The Meter Acquisition Fund (MAF) scheme was therefore, developed and approved by the commission, primarily to address the challenges of DisCos creditworthiness inhibiting the deployment of end-use meter in NESI.

”By creating a credible revenue stream from the market funds on the back of which long term financing may be secured by the utilities,” it said.

NERC said that the management of Fund Manager (FM) based on terms and conditions, negotiated by the DisCos and approved by the commission.

According to the commission, the federal government approved the Presidential Metering Initiative (PMI) with the overarching objective of closing the metering gap in the NESI within three years leveraging on smart metering technologies for data analytics.

The MAF shall form one of the revenue streams for the repayment of the long tenor financing for metering.

The order also revealed that the commission approved the deregulation of meter prices under the MAP scheme vide Order NERC/2024/040 to ensure an efficient pricing of meters while responding more quickly to changes in macroeconomic parameters.

“The order provides that all prices of meters under the MAP scheme shall be determined through a transparent and competitive bidding process by eligible MAPs.

“A competitive bidding process was held on  May 21, 2024 based on the provisions of Order NERC/2024/040 where a total of 24 ( MAPs participated across the 12 DisCos.

”A total of 44 bids were submitted for 10meters specifications,” it said.

NERC said the deployment of funds under the MAF scheme would accelerate the deployment of meters and a closure of the current metering gap.

”Thereby reducing commercial and collection losses to DisCos, enhancing quality of service and improvement of customer satisfaction,” it said.

NERC also noted that while the NESI is expected to leverage on the revenue stream under the MAF framework to raise substantial capital funding for metering, there was an imperative to accelerate a closure of the metering gap for all customers.

”Currently classified under tariff Band A for the purpose of revenue protection and facilitating demand side management for the affected customers.”

NERC said that the DisCos should utilise the first tranche (Tranche A) of disbursement from the MAF scheme based on contributions made by DisCos as at the April 2024 markets settlement.

It said that attached to this order as Schedule 1 was to procure and install meters for unmetered Band ‘A’ customers within their franchise areas.

The commission said DisCos shall, within 14  days from the effective date of the order, conduct a transparent and competitive procurement process, for meter price determination, selection and engagement of MAPs/LMMAs for the metering of end-use customer meters under the MAF scheme.

”The order also directed that a report containing details of the process undertaken for the selection of MAPs/LMMAs including meter price, meter specifications.

”And the list of customers to be metered shall be sent to the commission for approval, within 20 days from the effective date of this Order.

” Upon approval of the commission, the DisCo shall enter into contracts with selected MAPs/LMMAs on one of the following terms,”it said.

The commission said that where an Advance Payment Guarantee (APG) issued by a commercial bank in the country is provided by a qualifying MAP/LMMA, 30 per cent of the contract sum shall be paid by the FM on behalf of the DisCo to the MAP/LMMA.

” Upon execution of the contract. A further two milestone payments shall be made upon the completion of 60 per cent of contracted quantities and 100 per cent of the contract respectively, with the funds advanced against bank guarantee amortized over the payments.

“Where the MAP/LMMA do not request an advance payment, the milestone payments shall be made upon the verified installation of 20, 60 and 100 per cent respectively of the contracted volume of meters.

”A vendor may, at his option, defer payment until the completion of the installation of the contracted volumes.

“DisCos shall ensure that all the necessary resources and network clearance required by the MAP/LMMA to install meters based on installation plans are provided and/or completed,” it said.

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Nigeria’s public debt now N121trn – Debt Management Office

exchange rate

The Debt Management Office (DMO) says Nigeria’s total public debt has reached N121.67 trillion within three months.

The Cable reports that this figure represents an increase of N24.33 trillion or 24.99 percent from the N97.34 trillion as of December 2023.

Nigeria’s public debt profile consists of the federal and subnational governments’ domestic and external debt stocks — the 36 states and the federal capital territory (FCT).

According to the DMO, the increase was primarily due to new domestic borrowing by the federal government to partly fund the deficit in the 2024 budget as well as disbursements by multilateral and bilateral lenders.

“Total domestic debt was N65.65 trillion (USD46.29 billion) while total external debt was N56.02 trillion (USD42.12 billion). Excluding naira exchange rate movements in Q1 2024, only the domestic debt component of total public debt grew from N59.12 trillion on December 31, 2023, to N65.65 trillion on March 31, 2024.

“The increase was from new borrowing to part-finance the 2024 Budget deficit and securitization of a portion of the N7.3 trillion Ways and Means Advances at the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“Whilst borrowing, as provided in the 2024 Appropriation Act, will continue, we expect improvements in the government’s revenue to enhance debt sustainability.”

On June 13, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, announced the approval of two major “financial support packages” by the World Bank — valued at $2.25 billion. In May, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) said the federal government has secured a $500m World Bank loan to boost electricity distribution in the country.

Prior to this, the federal government had received $750 million from the World Bank for humanitarian and social reforms and $1.5 billion for its economic stabilisation plan.

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Fuel price increases by 223% annually – NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics says the price of Premium Motor Spirit, known as petrol, increased by 223.21 percent to N799.62 per litre in May 2024 from N238.11 same Month last year.

NBS disclosed this recently in its Price Watch for May.

The report noted that Petrol prices increased 9.75 percent to N769.62 per litre in May 2024 compared to N701.24 in April.

On a state profile analysis, Jigawa State had the highest average retail price for Premium Motor Spirit (Petrol), at N937.50, Ondo and Benue States were next, with N882.67 and N882.22, respectively.

Conversely, Lagos, Niger and Kwara States had the lowest average retail prices for Premium Motor Spirit (Petrol), at N636.80, N642.16 and N645.15 respectively.

On the zonal level analysis, the North-West Zone had the highest average retail price of N845.26, while the North Central Zone had the lowest price of N695.04.

The development comes as the Nigerian government under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on May 29, 2023, announced fuel subsidy removal which saw the price of the product jump to N600 per litre from around N238 per litre.

Fuel price hikes resulted in the ripple effect of rising inflation in Nigeria. This is as headline and food inflation increased to 33.95 percent and 40.66 percent respectively.

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