Some commercial banks have confirmed they are beginning to set up foreign exchange (forex) desks at every branch following a directive from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) last week.
CBN had on Tuesday cancelled the sales of forex to Bureau De Change (BDC) operators and directed the banks to take charge instead.
By Thursday, bank chiefs confirmed they had a meeting with CBN and had been directed to set up desks at branches of their banks to attend to the forex needs of customers.
At the weekend, customers of some of the banks said they are getting email notices, informing them of the availability of a desk to attend to their forex needs across branches.
A customer with Guaranty Trust Bank, Comfort Oche, said she got a notice from GTCO, the new holding company of the bank stating this.
The notice seen by Daily Trust, said, “We have set up dedicated teller points at all our branches nationwide for your eligible foreign exchange needs.”
It said customers can buy their Personal Travel Allowance (PTA), Business Travel Allowance (BTA), pay international school fees, foreign medical bills, SME Form Q transactions and every other qualifying foreign exchange transaction.
While it noted that people can get their forex request the same day, it added that it is subject to the customer providing all the required documentation for these transactions.
It also said customers must be “18 years and above, and have a valid Bank Verification Number (BVN)”, among other requirements.
GTB also pegged the PTA request at a maximum of $4,000 per quarter per applicant among other requirements.
Another notice was seen from Sterling Bank. It said: “We just wanted to let you know that every branch of Sterling is designated, and you can visit any branch where our forex teller is ready to serve you and meet your transaction needs.”
Dangote seeks loans for Lagos giant refinery as costs balloon to $19B
President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote is in talks with some of the world’s biggest oil traders to help finance his mega refinery project in Lekki, Lagos, Reuters has reported quoting close sources to the project.
The 650,000 barrel-per-day refinery, once complete, will be the continent’s largest plant and redraw major trade flows of crude and fuel in the Atlantic basin.
The refinery has been delayed by several years and the cost has ballooned to $19 billion from Dangote’s earlier estimates of $12-14 billion.
Construction was also delayed due to COVID-19 outbreaks among workers at the site and delays getting materials, two sources with knowledge of the project said.
Many industry sources do not expect any products before the second half of next year.
Hit by economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and soaring construction costs, Dangote needs a cash injection.
Nigeria’s state oil firm NNPC has agreed to buy a 20% stake in the refinery for about $2.8 billion but Dangote is looking for outside cash.
NNPC’s head Mele Kyari said a process was on-going to raise $1 billion with Afreximbank to fund part of its stake purchase.
The billionaire has held talks as recently as a month ago with executives from the world’s top two oil traders – Trafigura and Vitol.
Trafigura and Vitol declined to comment. A spokesperson for the Dangote Group did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
No plan to convert domiciliary accounts into naira
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has denied a claim that it directed banks to convert all customers’ domiciliary accounts meant for dollar and other hard currency transactions into naira accounts.
In a statement on Saturday, Director, Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi, the apex bank said a fake circular with a fake CBN logo curiously dated “13 September 2021” (next Monday), and purportedly issued by its Trade and Exchange Department directed that all Deposit Money Banks, International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) and members of the public are to convert domiciliary account holdings into naira.
“We wish to reiterate that the Bank has not contemplated, and will never contemplate, any such line of action. The speculation is a completely false narrative aimed at triggering panic in the foreign exchange market,” CBN said.
The apex bank recalled that it had assured that there was no plan to convert the foreign exchange in the domiciliary accounts of customers into Naira in order to check the alleged shortage of availability of the United States Dollar (USD).
“Operators of domiciliary accounts and other members of the banking public are therefore advised to completely disregard these fictitious documents and malicious rumours, and go about their legitimate foreign exchange transactions.”
The apex bank also warned corporate bodies and members of the public against the unauthorised use of the bank’s logo for any purpose, stating that the appropriate authorities have been notified and culprits will be sanctioned.
NNPC’s assets rise by 18.7%
For the third time since it was established 44 years ago, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday officially released its Audited Financial Statement (AFS) for year 2020.
With the development, the corporation has now joined other state-owned global oil concerns that publish the details of their operations, to among others, boost investors’ confidence and enhance business transparency.
President Muhammadu Buhari last month announced a profit after tax (PAT) of N287 billion for the NNPC for the financial year ended 2020 and had directed the corporation to ensure prompt publication of its AFS in line with the requirements of the law.
The latest financial statement of the national oil company showed that aside the already announced PAT, from a loss position of N1.7 billion in 2019, to N287 billion in 2020, NNPC’s total current assets increased by 18.7 per cent compared with that of 2019, while its total current liabilities increased by 11.4 per cent within the same period.
In addition, the group’s working capital remained below the line at N4.56 trillion in 2020, as against N4.44 trillion in 2019, while the corporation’s group revenue for the 2020 financial year stood at N3.718 trillion as against N4.634 trillion in 2019.
According to the national oil company, the decrease in the group’s revenue could be attributed to the decline in production and price of crude oil due to global impact of Covid-19.
The corporation first published its AFS last year, the first being for 2018 and the second dealing was on its activities for 2019.
But the NNPC’s independent auditors, namely PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PwC), SIAO Partners and Muhtari Dangana & Co, drew attention to a section of the document which indicated that the corporation’s liabilities still outstripped its assets.
The auditors stressed that though the NNPC announced a profit of N287 billion, but the large discrepancy between assets and liabilities cast some uncertainty on the corporation’s operations.
“We draw attention to note 42 of the consolidated and separate financial statements, which indicates that the group recorded a net profit of N287.2 billion (Corporation: N235.3 billion) during the year ended 31 December 2020 and, as at that date, the group’s current liabilities exceeded its current assets by N4.6 trillion (Corporation: N729.1 billion).
“As stated in note 42, these events or conditions, along with other matters as set forth in note 42, indicate that a material uncertainty exists that may cast significant doubt on the group and corporation’s ability to continue as a going concern. Our opinion is not modified in respect of this matter,” they noted.
The newly released AFS also indicated that the NNPC recorded a profit before tax of N719 billion in 2020, compared with N93 billion loss in 2019, and a total comprehensive income of N655 billion compared to a loss of N20.1 billion last year.
The financial statement was signed by the Group Managing Director of the corporation and the Chief Financial Officer, Mallam Mele Kyari and Mr Umar Ajiya respectively and was dated September 3.
However, despite their misgivings, the auditors stated that records showed an improvement from prior year based on several group improvement efforts put in place by management, including elimination of the cost drivers responsible for the accumulation of the shortfalls in settling domestic crude obligation to Federation Account.
The auditors further acknowledged the introduction of the Price Modulator mechanism in the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) template designed to eliminate the major cause of the losses as well as minimising the breaches to pipeline networks.
Under the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), they projected that the NNPC when given the autonomy, would operate profitably, noting that the recapitalisation of the corporation would enable the resolution of all outstanding related party payables and receivables to enable NNPC start on a clean slate.
Kyari had while explaining how the NNPC arrived at the profit, attributed it to aggressive cost cutting, automation of the NNPC system and renegotiation of contracts downwards by about 30 per cent, among other tough measures.
During the year, the NNPC said it donated a total sum of N3.6 billion and N9 million respectively to various charitable organisations, higher education institutions and other organisation, while no donation was made to any political party.
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