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CBN names 12 BVN registration centres abroad

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The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN has named twelve approved centres across Europe, North America, Asia, Middle East and Africa to facilitate the Bank Verification Number, BVN registration exercise for Nigerian banks’ customers in the Diaspora.

The approved centres include the ones in Washington DC, Atlanta, New York and Houston, United States of America; Johannesburg, South Africa; Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai, China; New Delhi, India; London and Leicester, United Kingdom; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

CBN also disclosed that, “Online Integrated Solutions OIS has been engaged to establish stations for data capture and generation of BVN at a fee of GBP30 per transaction, payable by the customer.

The company is expected to capture necessary data for online transmission to the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System, NIBSS who would therefore generate the BVN and communicate same to the customer.

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BUSINESS

Dollar breaks N600/$ ceiling ahead of party’s presidential primaries

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Less than two weeks to the presidential primaries of the political parties ahead of the 2023 elections, the US dollar has broken the N600/$ mark at the parallel market and set the tone for a possible uptick in the coming days.

The black market rate had traded between N570/$ and N590/$ since the beginning of the year while the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s intervention at the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange (NAFEX) has kept its rate under N420/$.

With the latest slump of the naira, the arbitrage between the parallel and NAFEX, which is regarded as the official window, is now inching close to N200/$. The spread measures the deviation of the controlled official rate from the real rate of exchange, with experts calling for liberalisation of the market to enable naira to find its true value.

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have also warned of the repercussions of sustaining an artificially high naira while calling on the CBN to embark on market reform.

But the CBN has maintained that Nigeria, with the current high level of importation and underperformance of the industrial sector, cannot afford to float the naira completely as the exchange rate could spill out of control.

At the Lagos street market, yesterday, naira traded between N595/$ and N600/$ band. With the presidential primaries of the two leading political parties scheduled for Abuja next weekend, there is an expectation the demand pressure has not peaked, suggesting that naira is in for a protracted pressure.

At peer-to-peer (P2P) trading platforms, the dollar has been trading above N600 in the past three weeks, which had signaled that the black market rate could break through the psychological ceiling.

With that eventually happening, naira could be on a renewed free fall.

But there is also hope that it is a season to offload warehoused hard currencies for political campaigns to possibly shore up supply.

Experts are not sure where rising demand and supply of foreign exchange would lead the naira to, but the interplay between the movements of the two variables is a key factor in predicting the value of the naira in the tense political season. Godwin Owoh, a professor of applied economics, advised Nigerians to prepare for a steeper fall of the local currency, saying partisan politics and intra-party meetings, which are highly dollarised would bring much pressure to bear.

The CBN has promised to continue to protect the naira but its ability could be constrained by the equally falling reserve. For the first time in eight months, the gross reserves dropped below N39 billion on Monday, when CBN data put the figures at N38.92 billion. Effectively, the country’s reserves have depleted by $160 billion year-to-date.

Bismarck Rewane, an economist, had projected the reserve to collapse to $32 billion in the year as he expected the CBN to spend $8 to $10 billion defending the naira, which is taking much pressure from excessive importation.

The value of Nigeria’s imports increased by 64 per cent last year to N20.84 trillion. Sadly, the value of exports increased at a slower rate – 51 per cent – to N18. 91 trillion in the same period. The falling reserves and rising imports have put the apex bank in dire straits in its efforts to continue to defend the naira.

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Stock market sets new milestone as investors gain over N5tr in four months

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Amid uncertainties in the global economy and rising insecurity in the country, the nation’s stock market continued its bullish run, giving hope to patient investors who endured long periods of downturn on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX).

After getting to a rock-bottom low for several years, the equities market have recorded an unprecedented upbeat rally since the beginning of the year to emerge the best performing market in Africa and third in the world.

The NGX’s All Share Index (ASI), an indicator used to track the general market movement of all listed equities on NGX, crossed 53,000 mark to hit a 14-year high for the first time since 2008, as indices soared significantly by N5.4 trillion from the beginning of the year.

Specifically, market capitalisation opened the year at 43,026.23 to close on Friday, May 13, at 53,098.46 points for the first time since 2008, representing 19 per cent appreciation, while trading for the year opened on January 4 with N23,187 trillion to close on Friday at N28,625 trillion, representing N5,438 trillion increase.

The Chief Executive Officer, Wyoming Capital and Partners, Tajudeen Olayinka, hinged the upswing trend on improved system liquidity that is traceable to massive reinvestment of 2021 yearly dividends by investors, who received their payments recently from listed companies.

According to him, the fact that dividends are now paid electronically means that institutional investors who do not have immediate need for cash can reasonably deploy such dividends to more profitable stocks given the low and attractive

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Twitter loses three more senior employees ahead of Musk takeover

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Twitter loses three more senior employees ahead of Musk takeover

Twitter Inc. is losing three more senior employees, including two vice presidents, a reflection of the uncertainty inside the social media company as staffers wait for Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition to close.

Ilya Brown, a VP of product management; Katrina Lane, VP of Twitter Service; and Max Schmeiser, head of data science, are all leaving the company, according to internal memos described to Bloomberg. All three chose to exit on their own, according to the memos.

A Twitter spokeswoman confirmed the executives’ departures.

Less than a week ago, Twitter shook up its product organization, including firing two top product executives by Chief Executive Officer Parag Agrawal. Twitter also instituted budget cuts and implemented a hiring freeze last week, and while the company said it was not planning layoffs, Agrawal told employees in an email, “Leaders will continue making changes to their organizations to improve efficiencies as needed.”

Twitter employees are in a state of limbo as the San Francisco-based company waits for Musk, the billionaire CEO of Tesla Inc., to finalize his deal to take the social network private for $54.20 a share. At all-hands meetings over the past month, Twitter executives have faced questions about stock compensation and job security. During one presentation, leadership tried to motivate employees by reminding them why they should bother showing up for work.

Complicating matters has been Musk’s provocative tweeting and public comments. He has criticized Twitter executives and is now saying the company may be misleading the public about how many bot and spam accounts are included in Twitter’s calculation for total users.

Musk has said the deal is “on hold” until he gets more information. Twitter said it’s committed to completing the sale. The shares, which had dropped for seven straight trading days, rose 2.9% to $38.47 in the late afternoon New York time on Tuesday. That’s still far below the offer price, indicating investor skepticism that the deal will come to fruition.

The Twitter spokeswoman said about the departing employees: “We are thankful for all of their hard work and leadership,” according to her emailed statement. “We continue to be focused on providing the very best experience to the people on Twitter.”

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