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ONSA, CBN collaborate to end illegal activities within Nigeria’s Foreign Exchange Market

As expected, inflation jumps to 15.7% in February amid fuel scarcity

Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are joining forces to address challenges impacting the nation’s economic stability and safeguard Nigeria’s foreign exchange market and combat speculative activities.

This was disclosed in a statement issued by Zakari U. Mijinyawa, Head, Strategic Communication Office of the National Security Adviser.

The statement said CBN’s proactive measures to stabilise the foreign exchange market and stimulate economic activities have been commendable but the effectiveness of these initiatives is being undermined by the activities of speculators, both domestic and international, operating through various channels, thereby exacerbating the depreciation of the Nigerian Naira and contributing to inflation and economic instability.

“Recall that, to address the exchange rate volatility, the CBN initiated a comprehensive strategy to enhance liquidity in the forex market, including unifying FX market segments, clearing outstanding FX obligations, introducing new operational mechanisms for Bureau De Change operators, enforcing the Net Open Position limit for commercial banks, and adjusting the remunerable Standing Deposit Facility cap.

“To reduce the pressure on the naira, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has raised a 7,000-man special task force across its 14 zonal commands to clamp down on dollar racketeers.

“Yet, recent intelligence reports have highlighted continued illicit activities within the Nigerian foreign exchange market, the ONSA and CBN are therefore embarking on this collaborative approach to tackle these infractions. This partnership will involve a coordinated effort with key law enforcement agencies, including the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Nigeria Customs Service and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).

“The primary objective of this alliance is to systematically identify, thoroughly investigate and appropriately penalize individuals and organisations involved in wrongful activities within the FX market. By leveraging the expertise of these agencies, we aim to deter malicious practices, protect investor interests, and promote sustainable economic growth.

“This joint effort underscores the commitment of the Nigerian government to improving its Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) framework and exiting the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force.

“In addition, the efforts will make progress in ensuring a stable and transparent foreign exchange market, fostering investor confidence, and advancing the nation’s economic well-being,” the statement said.

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Oyebanji Engages Bank of Industry on Strategic Development

In a bid to foster robust development in Ekiti State, the Governor of the state, Mr Biodun Oyebanji on Thursday had in a crucial meeting with the leadership of the Bank of Industry Limited, led by Dr. Olasupo Olusi, in Lagos.

At the meeting held at the Head office of the Bank in Marina, Lagos, deliberations revolved around forging prospective collaborations in crucial sectors such as youth empowerment, agricultural revitalization, women’s empowerment, and infrastructural advancement, among others.

Addressing newsmen after the strategic session, Governor Oyebanji emphasized his unwavering commitment to engaging both governmental and non-governmental organizations and agencies in realizing the developmental goals of the state.

Stressing that a strategic partnership with the BOI is crucial in actualizing his administration’s shared prosperity agenda, Governor Oyebanji expressed optimism in the anticipated outcomes of the collaborative efforts, foreseeing positive results in the near future.

“Bank of industry is very critical to our shared prosperity agenda. I can only expect a better collaboration, the critical government officials would be here to take this discussion further. I am extremely excited because of the opportunities it offers our people” Stated the Governor

Governor Oyebanji lauded the Bank of Industry management for their array of programs and initiatives, stressing that the people of Ekiti State are eager for increased presence of Federal Government agencies and development partners in the state.

The BOI MD/ CEO, Dr Olasupo Olusi said the bank is committed to the collaboration between the bank and Ekiti State Government even as he lauded Governor Oyebanji’s development agenda for the state.

“We will ensure a stronger collaboration between Ekiti state Government and Bank of industry. For Governor Oyebanji to be here demonstrates the strong interest in developing the state. Different areas of development have been discussed and we will follow up”, Dr Olusi added.

Present at the meeting by the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning and Performance management, Mr Niyi Adebayo and his Industry, Trade and Investment counterpart, Mrs Tayo Adeola as well as the management team of the bank.

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Cardoso sacks eight CBN directors, 32 others

Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Yemi Cardodo has sacked a fresh batch of 40 staff mostly from the Development Finance Department (DFD), in furtherance of its ongoing restructuring.

According to Daily Trust report, deputy directors and assistant directors were mostly affected with 22 from the DFD and the remaining 18 from the Medicals and Procurement Services Department.

Amongst those affected were eight directors, 10 deputy directors, five assistant directors, two principal managers, and two senior managers.

With the latest number of affected staff, the total has now reached 67, in what appears to be a series by the Olayemi Cardoso-led Board of Governors.

Recall that not less than 27 members of staff, most of them directors at the Central Bank of Nigeria, were affected by the first batch of dismissals.

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Nigeria’s inflation rate to remain high in 2024 — World Bank

The World Bank has stated that Nigeria’s inflation rate will remain high at 24.8 percent year-on-year, YoY, in 2024.

The World Bank also reaffirmed its projection of 3.3 percent economic growth for Nigeria in 2024 and reduced its projection for 2025 to 2026 by 0.1 percentage points to 3.6 percent from its January projection of 3.7 percent.

In its Africa’s Pulse Report, April 2024 edition, released Monday, April 8, the World bank stated:

“Growth in Nigeria is projected at 3.3 percent in 2024 and 3.6 percent in 2025–26 as macroeconomic and fiscal reforms gradually start to yield results.

“A more stable macroeconomic environment, as the reforms’ initial shock dissipates, will lead to sustained but still slow growth of the non-oil economy.

“The oil sector is expected to stabilize with recovery in production and slightly lower prices. “Structural reforms will be needed to foster higher growth.

“Average inflation will remain elevated at 24.8 percent in 2024, although it is expected to ease gradually to 15.1 percent by 2026 on the back of monetary policy tightening and exchange rate stabilization”.

“By February 2024, about one third of the Sub-Saharan African countries with monthly available food price information (14 of 40 countries) had double-digit year-on-year rates of food inflation, with the fastest increases experienced in Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Zimbabwe.”

“The region also faces the triple challenges of high extreme poverty, high inequality, and low transmission of growth to poverty reduction.

“The speed of poverty reduction has decreased tremendously since 2014. The rate of reduction was 3.1 percent between 2010 and 2014, subsequently decreasing to 1.2 percent between 2014 and 2019.

“In contrast, the rest of the world reduced extreme poverty on average by 9.2 percent per year within the same time horizon, suggesting that the Africa region is falling further behind.

“In addition, there is substantial regional heterogeneity in where the poor are with Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo accounting for one in three of those living in extreme poverty.

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