By Ayo Fadimu
The strategic partnership between the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) on foreign exchange supplies and sustenance of market integrity helped naira stability last year.
ABCON President, Aminu Gwadabe, who disclosed this to newsmen at the end of year briefing in Lagos, said both the apex bank and ABCON worked together in the course of the year to achieve exchange rate stability, which is one of the agenda set by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele at the beginning of his tenure.
Gwadabe said the partnership between both institutions will continue in the New Year to make Naira sovereign in the forex market.
He said: “The strategic partnership between the Central Bank and ABCON continued to make the naira sovereign in the foreign exchange market. The opening market rate N360/361 to dollar on the two-way quote has been stable. This sustained stability made the Bureaux De Change (BDCs) to continue to be the potent monetary policy tool of CBN exchange rate managements”.
According to the ABCON boss, the market distortions by forex speculators, rent seekers, currency hoarders and frivolous demand that usually endangered naira stability have been successfully checkmated. He said it was no longer profitable to attack Naira in the market.
The foreign exchange rates collected across different markets and released yesterday by ABCON showed that last year’s closing rates in Lagos were buying/selling rates for dollar stood at N358/359.5; Pounds Sterling, N452/N457 and Euro N404/N409.5 respectively.
In Port Harcourt, dollar buying/selling rates closed the year were at N359/361; Pounds Sterling, N457/N464 and Euro N405/N408 respectively.
In Abuja, dollar buying/selling rates closed last year at N359/360; Pounds Sterling, N464/N467 and Euro N407/N410 respectively. In Kano, dollar buying/selling rates for last year were at N359/360; Pounds Sterling, N465/N472and Euro N407/N411 respectively.
Gwadabe said that ABCON last year created Naijabdcs.com, a live rate engine room created to provide uniform rate for all BDCs across the country.
The Naijabdcs App displays live exchange rates for different currencies against the naira. “It was created by ABCON to bring about price discovery and transparency in the foreign exchange market. The portal has the support of the CBN, commercial banks, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit, Travelex, over 4,000 BDC operators among others,” he said.
He said the App can now be downloaded from the Google Play Store adding that being on the Google Play puts Niajabdcs.com in front of people using billions of active Android devices, in more than 190 countries and territories around the world.
Gwadabe said the local currency stability has also been achieved in the official market, where the exchange rate closed the year at N307 to dollar despite huge campaign spendings by political parties.
He disclosed that both the CBN and ABCON have continually ensured that foreign exchange demands at the retail end of the market were met.
He said that the sustenance of dollar supply to over 4,000 BDC operators across the country through the International Money Transfer Operations (IMTOs) forex window has helped the status of the local currency.
“The naira remains stable despite political parties campaign spendings across the nation. The strategic partnership, actions and pre-actions of the CBN and ABCON have stopped distortions to the exchange rate due to ongoing politicking and campaign spendings in the country. ABCON has on its part, ensured that its members continue to make dollar accessible to critical end-users like travelers demanding personal and business travel allowances, school fees and medical bills payment abroad among others,” he said.
He said that going into the New Year, the ongoing ABCON automation and configuration of soft token for forex return rendition by over 4,000 BDCs nationwide will enhance transparency and financial integrity of the operators. “This feat will no doubt strengthen the effectiveness of the technical compliance of the Anti money laundering and counter terrorism financing laws and help Nigeria’s assessment into the Financial Action Task Force coming up this new year,” he stated.
He said ABCON was impressed that increased surveillance by the security agencies on illicit financial flow and controls at the nations boarders enhanced the stability in the market in the course of last year, adding that same activities should be sustained in the New Year.
On regulatory compliance, he said the licensed BDCs are committed to naira’s stability at both official and parallel markets, and have consistently partnered with the CBN to achieve this objective.
“The CBN-licensed BDCs have always played collaborative and positive roles for the regulator in achieving exchange rate stability. ABCON has continuously assured the CBN and taken appropriate measures to ensure that purchased funds are disbursed to end users and for eligible transactions only,” he said.
The BDCs will continue to render weekly returns on purchases from the banks to Trade and Exchange Department of the apex bank. We will also continue to ensure strict compliance to the provisions of the anti-money laundering laws observance of appropriate Know-Your-Customer principles in the handling of forex transactions.
AfDB, GGBI partner to strengthen Africa’s green bond market
The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, has signed a declaration with the coalition of development finance institutions to promote green bond markets in Africa.
AfDB’s Group Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Ms Hassatou N’Sele, said this in a statement issued on the bank’s website.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Africa’s engagement in the green bond market currently represents less than one per cent of the more than 2.2 trillion dollar community green bond issued in 2022.
N’Sele said the institutions in the Global Green Bond Initiative (GGBI) comprised the European Investment Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and Italy’s Cassa Depositi e Prestiti.
Others are the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation, Green Climate Fund and Germany’s KfW development bank, while PROPARCO of the AFD Group act as consortium of European development finance institutions.
The AfDB’s chief financial officer signed the declaration with representatives of the coalitions’ institutions on the sidelines of the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
N’Sele said the engagement was to tap from the Global Green Bond Initiative technical assistance programme announced by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in June 2023.
”The Initiative will help private capital flow from institutional investors into climate and environmental projects in EU partner countries, increasing their access to capital.
”Providing technical assistance to green bond issuers in emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs), and crowding in private investors through a dedicated de-risked fund.
”This will act as an anchor investor in green bonds issued in EMDEs.
“The anticipated impact can be up to 15-20 billion euro in green investments,” she said.
N’Sele said the partners supported the origination of green bonds, development and identification of pipelines of green projects, and the development of credible and coherent green bond frameworks.
“This joint declaration among us to collaborate on technical assistance on green bonds in Africa is our commitment to work together and it is significant and impactful.
”There cannot be impactful development in Africa without vibrant local capital markets,” the AfDB official said.
N’Sele highlighted the AfDB’s engagements in the green bond market, including issuing over 10 billion dollar worth of green and social bbondsin 2022 to support sustainable progress across Africa.
“Let’s help Africa fully leverage the power of green bonds, and we can contribute together towards a sustainable future for Africans,” she said.
Mr Stefano Signore of the European Commission’s partnerships directorate, described the partnership with the AfDB as an important milestone in efforts to mobilise green bonds in emerging developing economies.
Also, representative of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) expressed hope that the partnership would contribute to the intensification of climate and environmentally relevant projects.
”We hope to also contribute to pipelines that can set off the mobilisation of the global green bond initiative.”
NIS opens passport office in Ikorodu
The Comptroller- General of Nigeria Immigration Service(CGI), Mrs Caroline Adepoju ,on Friday assured Nigerians that they would get their passports within three weeks of submitting their applications.
Adepoju gave the assurance while inaugurating a new passport office in Igbogbo community in Ikorodu, Lagos State .
Adepoju said passports would now be processed and issued speedily provided applicants submit all the required details in their applications.
She advised the public to ensure that they renew their passports six months before its expiration to avoid problems while applying for visa to some countries.
Adepoju thanked the people of Igbogbo for their support and for providing all that was needed to start operation in the area.
“I thank the traditional ruler and the people of Igbogbo for their support and for ensuring the realisation of this project.
“This is my first assignment after my confirmation as the substantive Controller General of Nigeria Immigration Service.
“I want to advise the public to ensure they renew their passport six months before expiration to avoid being denied visa by some countries,” she said.
Speaking, Gov. Babajide Sanwoolu said the establishment of the passport office in Igbogbo would improve service delivery i to Nigerians and save the people of Igbogbo and environs the stress of traveling far to obtain tbeir passports..
Sanwoolu, represented by Mr Ibrahim Layode, Commussioner for Home Affairs, said the role of Immigration in any country could not be over- emphasised.
He said that the establishment of the passport front office in Igbogbo was a testament to Federal Government’s commitment to providing world -class immigration services in line with global standard.
Also speaking, the council Chairman of Igbogbo Baiyeku Local Counvil Development Area(LCDA) Mr Olusesan Daini, urged the CGI to consider expanding operations at the new passport front office .
Daini said the council would synergise with NIS to ensure the edifice was maintained.
“We will also improve our security architecture to ensure the office is secure.”he said.
He said that the new passport office was a welcome development as residents would no longer have to travel far to obtain or renew their passports.
“The establishment of this passport front office in Igbogbo will improve commercial activities.
“The council will also improve its security architecture to provide adequate security in the area,” he said.
Adeboruwa of Igbogbo, Oba Orimadegun Kasali ,who spoke on behalf of all the traditional rulers in Ikorodu Division , said he was very happy that the passport front office was established in his domain.
He added that it would go a long way in improving commercial activities in the area.
Adeboruwa commended all those who facilitated the establishment of the passport office in the community.
“I cannot say how happy I am today, infact ,this office will put Igbogbo community in world map.
” I appreciate everybody that has contributed in one way or the other to make this a success,especially the family that donated the land .
“I am glad that Igbogbo passport office has come to stay,” he said.
Nigeria, Germany sign Siemens power project accelerated implementation agreement
President Bola Tinubu and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz were witnesses to the signing of an accelerated performance agreement in Dubai on the Siemens power project in Nigeria.
The agreement was signed on the side-line of the on-going 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP28 by Mr Kenny Anuwe, Managing Director of FGN Power Company on behalf of Nigeria.
Ms Nadja Haakansson, Siemens Energy’s Senior Vice-President and Managing Director for Africa signed on behalf of the German company.
Speaking after signing the agreement, Anuwe highlighted Siemens Energy’s effective delivery of crucial equipment worth more than 63 million Euros to Nigeria since the commencement of the project.
This includes 10 units of 132/33KV mobile substations; three units of 75/100MVA transformers, and seven units of 60/66MVA transformers, currently being installed by FGN Power Company at various sites.
The Dubai agreement was signed to expedite the implementation of the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) to improve Nigeria’s electricity supply.
The PPI, formerly known as the Nigeria Electrification Roadmap Initiative, was the outcome of the visit by former German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Abuja in August 2018.
An agreement was signed between the governments of Nigeria and Germany in 2019 to improve Nigeria’s power sector.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, stated on Friday in Abuja that since assumption of office, Tinubu had advocated the accelerated realisation and expansion of the PPI.
To achieve this, the project has been a major focal point in three rounds of bilateral discussions at meetings between President Tinubu and the German Chancellor in New Delhi, in Abuja and in Berlin.
The Dubai agreement will facilitate the modernisation and expansion of Nigeria’s electric power transmission grid with full supply, delivery and installation of Siemens-manufactured equipment within 18 to 24 months, Ajuri stated.
It will ensure project sustainability and maintenance with full technology transfer and training of Nigerian engineers at the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), he added.
The project will also focus on identified load demand centres with particular emphasis on economic and industrial hubs nationwide and the execution of new 330kV and 132/33KV substations in target load centres with economic priority.
These are in addition to thousands of kilometres of overhead transmission lines to connect new substations with existing ones, Ajuri also stated.
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