As the nation marks 59th independence today, the fine engineered by Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID) Limited remains one of the biggest fiscal events that has ever threatened to reshape the future of this nation of more than 200 million people till date.
Recall that United Kingdom court’s grant the company licence to seize $9.6billion in the country’s assets, which represents 22.8 per cent of the nation’s external reserves. Experts worry that this incredibly bloated fine, which also represents about 40 per cent of the N8.91trillion 2019 budget would reduce the country’s foreign reserves base if the country paid it.
The relative dollar scarcity instigated by such a huge exposure may just push the foreign exchange rate beyond N500 to the dollar, and push more people below the poverty level.
The annual inflation rate dropped further to 11.02 per cent in August 2019, the lowest since January 2016, from 11.08 percent in the prior month. Prices slowed mostly for food amid the ongoing harvest season, according to National Bureau of Statistics(NBS)
The country’s external reserves decreased to $42.120 million in September from $43.73 million recorded last August. The Reserves averaged $11858.04 million from 1960 until 2019, reaching an all time high of $62.082 million in September 2008 and a record low of $63.22 million in June 1968.
The NBS says the total value of capital importation into Nigeria in the second quarter of 2019 was $5.82 billion, representing a decrease of -31.41 per cent compared to the first quarter.
The bureau, however, said that the figure showed a +5.56 per cent increase compared to the second quarter of 2018.
It said that the largest amount of capital importation by type was received through portfolio investment, which accounted for 73.76 per cent which was $4.292 billion of total capital importation.
“This was followed by other investment, which accounted for 22.41 per cent ($1.304 billion) of total capital imported and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), which accounted for 3.83 per cent ($222.89 million) of total capital imported in quarter two, 2019.
BVN registration rises to 39.2m
Registration for Biometric Verification Number (BVN) by bank account owners in the country increased to 39.2 million in September.
According to Nigeria Interbank Settlement Systems (NIBSS), this was recorded as at September 22, 2019.This shows that about 1.2 million accounts owners were registered for BVN in the last three months as the figure stood at 38 million mid-June this year.
While total active bank accounts stood at 72.9 million as at the end of June, the banks and NIBBS had set a target of achieving 70 million BVN registration by 2020.
BVN is a unique number for customers of banks in Nigeria, which contains biometric details of customers, including the fingerprint of all 10 fingers and facial image.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), through the Bankers’ Committee and in collaboration with all banks in Nigeria, launched a centralised biometric identification system for the banking industry in 2014.
The biometric identification was introduced to address identity theft, reduce exposure to fraud and enhance the banking industry’s chances of being able to fish out blacklisted customers, among others.
Treasury Single Account (TSA) is a financial policy in use in several countries all over the world. It was proposed by the Federal Government in 2012 under the Jonathan Administration and was fully implemented by the Buhari Administration to consolidate all inflows from all agencies of government into a single account at the CBN. The introduction of the TSA policy was vital in reducing the proliferation of bank accounts operated by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) towards promoting financial accountability among governmental organs. The compliance of the policy in the country created challenges for majority of the MDAs.Commercial banks in Nigeria remitted over N2 trillion worth of idle and active governments deposits with full implementation of this policy in 2016.
It was recently disclosed that the Federal Government is now saving N45 billion monthly on interests through its implementation, its MDAs having achieved almost 100 per cent compliance. To this end, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) advised the government of Gambia to come to Nigeria and understudy the implementation model.
The economy fell into recession by the second quarter of 2016 when the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by-1.49 per cent from where it dipped further to -2.34% by the third quarter. “After five quarters of uninterrupted GDP contraction (beginning from first Quarter of 2016), the economy exited from the recession during the second quarter of 2017.
Diamond Bank merged with Access Bank
Following the completion of its merger processes with Diamond Bank, Access Bank Plc last April 1 became the largest retail bank in Africa by customer base spanning three continents, 12 countries and with 29 million customers.
Its Executive Director, Personal Banking, said that the merger created a Nigerian banking powerhouse and a Pan-African financial services champion with 27,000 staff across 592 branches.
CBN cuts interest rate to 13.5%
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) last March resolved to reduce the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), also known as interest rate, by 50 basis points to 13.5 per cent from 14 per cent. The MPR is the rate at which the CBN lends to commercial banks and often determines the cost of borrowing in the economy.
Since July 2016, the Committee had, for 13 consecutive times, maintained MPR at 14 per cent.
Giving reason for the decision, the CBN governor said it was to establish the foundation for the next phase of growth to consolidate on stronger macro-economic structures being built for the country’s economy.