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Economy

IMF shuns Nigeria as it grants third tranche of  debt relief to poor countries

The International Monetary Fund(IMF) once again did not look the direction of Nigeria in its third tranche of debt relief to poor countries.
The Executive Board of the global body on April 1, 2021, approved a third tranche of grants for debt service relief for 28 member countries under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) in which Nigeria was missing.
This approval follows two prior tranches approved on April 13, 2020, and October 2, 2020, respectively, of which the country did not feature

In a report released on Monday, tge IMF said the step will enable the disbursement of grants from the CCRT for payment of all eligible debt service falling due to the IMF from its poorest and most vulnerable members from April 14, 2021, to October 15, 2021, estimated at SDR 168 (US$238) million.

This tranche of grants for debt service relief will continue to help free up scarce financial resources for vital emergency health, social, and economic support to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Subject to the availability of sufficient resources in the CCRT, debt service relief could be provided for the remaining period from October 16, 2021, to April 13, 2022, amounting to a total of about SDR 680 (US$964) million.

In March 2020, Managing Director of IMF ,Kristalina Georgieva, launched an urgent fundraising effort to raise SDR 1 billion (US$1.4 billion) in grants for the CCRT.

This would enable the CCRT to provide financial assistance for relief on debt service for up to a maximum of two years while leaving the CCRT adequately funded for future needs.

Thus far, donors have pledged contributions totalling about $774 million, including from the European Union, the UK, Japan, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Norway, Singapore, China, Mexico, Philippines, Sweden, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, and Malta.

The beneficiaries of the previous CCRT tranche are Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and The Gambia.

Others are Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Togo and Yemen.

Executive Directors welcomed the opportunity to consider the approval of grants under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) to support the third tranche of debt service relief for the Fund’s poorest and most vulnerable members.

They noted that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to exact a severe human and economic toll on these countries and that the resources freed up by the first and second tranches of CCRT debt service relief had helped mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

Directors agreed that the available resources and pledges are sufficient to finance the third tranche of debt service relief for the period from April 14 to October 15, 2021.

 Accordingly, they approved grant assistance under the CCRT for relief for 28 eligible members that have debt service falling due during this period.

Directors concurred that countries that received the CCRT grants for debt relief are generally pursuing appropriate macroeconomic policies in response to the economic fallout from the global pandemic.

They welcomed that a number of member countries were transitioning to Upper Credit Tranche-quality arrangements which would provide a stronger policy framework for the recovery period.
Directors also observed that most countries would benefit from a resumption of Fund surveillance and updated debt sustainability assessments.

The Fund directors noted the progress made in implementing governance safeguards commitments regarding COVID-19 related spending in CCRT-eligible countries.

However, they regretted implementation delays in some countries, particularly in disclosing beneficial ownership information on entities awarded government contracts.
Directors thus underscored the importance of continued follow-through on the commitments on governance and transparency, supported if necessary, by technical assistance.

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Economy

Nigerians to groan under fresh fuel scarcity for another two weeks- Independent Petroleum Marketers

The Eyewitness Reporter 
The current fuel crisis in the country may not go anytime soon as the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has warned that the situation may likely persist for the next two weeks.
Speaking against the fresh fuel scarcity in the country, the IPMAN’s Public Relations Officer, Chinedu Ukadike disclosed that there is no petrol product available for supply in the country.
Ukadike, in a statement, said there is a breach in the international supply chain, adding that fuel is not available even for Nigeria’s sole supplier, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NPCL).
This follows an ongoing turnaround maintenance of refineries in Europe.Ukadike explained that once there is a breach in the international supply chain, it will have an impact on domestic supply because they depend on imports.

“The situation is that there is no product. Once there is a lack of supply or inadequate supply, what you will see is scarcity and queues will emerge at filling stations.

“On the part of NNPCL, which is the sole supplier of petroleum products in Nigeria, they have attributed the challenge to logistics and vessel problems.

“Once there is a breach in the international supply chain, it will have an impact on domestic supply because we depend on imports.

” I also have it on good authority that most of the refineries in Europe are undergoing turnaround maintenance, so sourcing petroleum products has become a bit difficult.” IPMAN spokesman said.
According to him, “NNPC Group CEO has assured us that there will be improvement in the supply chain because their vessels are arriving”.“Once that is done, normalcy will return. This is because once the 30-day supply sufficiency is disrupted, it takes two to three months to restore it.

“We expect that by next week or so, NNPC should be able to restore supply and with another week, normalcy should return,” he said.

Ukadike further stated that “NNPC has said the marketers who have not been able to renew their licences will not be allowed to remain on their portal which has been shut for some time now.

” Because of this, we have not been able to request new products”.

 “At this nascent period of deregulation, you will discover that this leads to scarcity, even when the product arrives.

“As it is now, even by their data, out of 15,000 marketers that are on the portal with licences, only 1,050 renewed their licences.

“The requirement for renewal by NMDPRA is so much. Marketers are facing a hostile environment. NNPC placed a deadline of April 15, 2024, for marketers to renew their licences.

“We are, therefore, appealing to NNPC to extend this deadline and also to NMDPRA to hasten the release of licences of marketers who have completed their processes, and also reduce bottlenecks around licence renewals.”

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Economy

CBN sells $15.830m at N1.021 per dollar to 1,583 BDCs

CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso
The Eyewitness Reporter 
In its ongoing effort to ensure liquidity in the foreign exchange market which is expected to ease the pressure on the naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday disbursed the sum of $15,830,000m to 1,583 licensed Bureau De Change Operators at $10, 000 each.
In a letter dated April 22nd, 2024 and addressed to the President of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria and signed by Dr Hassan Mahmud, the Director, Trade and Exchange Department of the CBN, the beneficiaries are mandated to sell allocated forex to eligible end users ” at a spread of not more than 1.5 percent above the purchase price.
The CBN said the sale of forex to the BDCs will meet market demand (retail-end) for invisible transactions.
The apex bank however advised all the BDCs to continue to abide by the rules and conditions as stipulated in the operational guidelines.
The beneficiary BDCs have trading locations at Lagos, Abuja, Akwa and Kano.
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Economy

News Alert! CBN revokes operational licenses of 4,173 Bureau De Change operators for breach of regulatory guidelines

CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso

The Eyewitness Reporter

In its continuous efforts to sanitize the foreign exchange market and halt the frightening slide of the naira in exchange for the dollars, the Central Bank of Nigeria has revoked the operational licenses of 1,173 Bureau De Change operators.

In a press release issued Friday, March 1st, 2024 and signed by Mrs. Sidi Ali Hakama, the Acting Director, Corporate Communications, the apex bank said the axed BDCs failed to observe at least one of the following regulatory provisions which include payment of all necessary fees, including license renewal within the stipulated period in line with the Guidelines, rendition of returns in line with the Guidelines, compliance with guideline, directives and circulars of the CBN, particularly Anti-Money Laundering(AML), countering the Financing of Terrorism(CFT)and Counter-Proliferation Financing(CPF) regulations.

The apex bank said it relied on the powers conferred on it under the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act(BOFIA)2020, Act n0.5 and Revised Operational Guidelines for Bureaux De Change 2015(the Guidelines).

“The CBN is revising the regulatory and supervisory guidelines for Bureau de Change operations in Nigeria. Compliance with the new requirements will be mandatory for all stakeholders in the sector when the revised guidelines become effective.

‘Members of the Public are hereby advised to take note and be guided accordingly”, the statement concluded.

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