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Sanwo-Olu to sign 2024 Appropriation Bill this week

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…As Ambode, Hamzat, Ogun First Lady, others attend Lagos Thanksgiving Service

The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has revealed that he will sign into law this week the 2024 Lagos State Appropriation bill.

The Governor said this during the state’s 24th Annual Thanksgiving Service with the First Family of Lagos State, themed, ‘The Righteous Shall Praise Your Name’ held at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos Island.

Speaking, he said his administration is dedicated to the successful implementation of pivotal projects to foster the robust growth of the State and ensure the well-being of its citizens.

He said the Year 2024 will be an important one for his administration in terms of enforcement of the various laws and regulations that have been meticulously crafted to safeguard the lives and property of residents of the State, noting that, “Without adherence to the rule of law, no society can guarantee progress and prosperity.”

Governor Sanwo-Olu also disclosed that he will sign into law this week the 2024 Lagos State Appropriation Bill, passed a few days ago by the Lagos State House of Assembly, saying the signing of the Budget will mark an important milestone in the delivery of all that his administration has promised the people of Lagos, this year.

The service was attended by Governor Sanwo-Olu and his wife, Ibijoke; Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat and his wife, Oluremi; the immediate past Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and wife, Bolanle; Ogun State First Lady, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun; Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, represented by the Chairman of House on Home Affairs, Hon. Jubril Abdulkareem; Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba, former deputy governors, religious and traditional leaders, public office holders and politicians, among others.

Speaking during the service, Governor Sanwo-Olu, urged Nigerians and Lagos residents in particular to continue to pray for him and other public office holders, who have been given the privilege to serve as leaders, in various capacities in government.

Governor Sanwo-Olu said public office holders need divine wisdom and grace, as they make multitudes of decisions that will have an impact on the lives of the people.

He said, “As a Government, we are resolutely committed to fostering the robust growth of our State and ensuring the well-being of its citizens. We are unwaveringly dedicated to the successful implementation of pivotal projects.

“In every sector, we have major projects ongoing that will define the legacy of our administration, and positively transform the economy and the landscape of Lagos State.

“This week, by the special grace of God, I will sign into law the 2024 Lagos State Appropriation Bill, passed a few days ago by our hardworking and committed Lagos House of Assembly. The signing of that Budget will mark an important milestone in the delivery of all that we have promised you the people of Lagos, this year.

“Indeed, all Lagosians have so much to look forward to this year 2024, which is also the first full year of our second and final term in office. You are already familiar with our T.H.E.M.E.S+ development agenda, which will guide and propel all that we do for the progress and development of Lagos State.”

Governor Sanwo-Olu stressed that, “This year will also be an important one for us in terms of enforcement of the various laws and regulations that have been meticulously crafted to safeguard our lives and property. Without adherence to the rule of law, no society can guarantee progress and prosperity.

“I, therefore, want to implore each and every one of us, as Lagosians, to play our part in respecting and obeying the laws of the land. From paying our taxes to obeying traffic rules to disposing of our waste responsibly to speaking up when we see other people breaking the law. These are all responsibilities that we carry as good people of Lagos State.

“On our part, as Government, we will continue to strive to make it easier for you to be law-abiding. Our transport reforms are all aimed at improving the commuting experience for all Lagosians, just as our Emergency Hotlines are there to make it easy for you to ‘say something if you see something!’

“In the same way, we have in place various reforms aimed at making it easier for you to pay your taxes, and generally making Lagos a more enabling place for business and investment. Together, we can all play our part in achieving a truly Greater Lagos.”

Speaking on the significance of the Thanksgiving Service, Governor Sanwo-Olu said there is, indeed, so much to be grateful for and therefore urged people as they raise their voices in praise, adoration and supplication, to commit Lagos State and Nigeria to God, for his guidance, and His mercies.

He said, “As a people, we have every reason to praise God, most especially for the preservation of our lives to witness this year; for His mercies, protection, provisions, providence, love, grace, favour, compassion, deliverance and numerous blessings.

“We have every reason to give all the glory and thanks to the Almighty God because He has been faithful in the affairs of our dear State. He has granted us great achievements and testimonies; he has given us peace and security; and mightily blessed the work of our hands.

“He has granted us the privilege of seeing yet another edition of this annual Thanksgiving Service, organized in keeping with Lagos State’s tradition of starting every New Year in thanksgiving to God and in acknowledgment of the fact that in Him we live and move and have our being. This is the fifth one so far since I assumed office as Governor, and the first one since the start of our second term.”

In his exhortation, the Chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rt. Revd Stephen Adegbite said there is a need to appreciate God who answers prayers for the election of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as President and the re-election of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat during last year’s general elections.

He said God is good to Lagos State and the State will continue to hold the Annual Thanksgiving Service to appreciate God for the continuous peace, growth and development in the State.

Also speaking, Lagos State Commissioner of Home Affairs, Hon. Olanrewaju Layode, said the Thanksgiving Service was necessary to appreciate God for His mercy on Lagos State in the past year.

He said the State witnessed the commissioning of people-oriented and impactful projects by the Sanwo-Olu administration, adding that the administration is leaving no stone unturned to make life easy for residents through more developmental projects in line with the THEMES+ Agenda.

Money market

DMO to raise N450bn in April bond auction

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The Debt Management Office (DMO) is seeking to raise N450 billion in its April bond auction billed to take place on April 15.

This is in line with the agency’s plan to raise up to N1.8 trillion through FGN bonds in the second quarter (Q2) of 2024.

The DMO is offering N150 billion for the new FGN APR 2029 five-year bond. It is offering N150 billion for the reopened FFBN FEB 2031 17-year bond and N150 billion for the FGN FEB 2034 10-year bond.

The auction will take place on April 15 and the settlement date is April 17, 2024.

FGN bonds are auctioned every month through the DMO, with the interest paid semi-annually. They are subject to a minimum subscription of N50,000,001 and in multiples of N1,000 thereafter.

FGN bonds are recognised as investment instruments for trustees under the Trustee Investment Act. They receive tax exemption benefits for pension funds because they’re considered government securities, as per the guidelines in the Company Income Tax Act (CITA) and the Personal Income Tax Act (PITA).

In Q1 2024, the DMO raised about N2.39 trillion through FGN bonds, with the largest issuance occurring in February.

In Q1 2024, the DMO raised about N2.39 trillion through FGN bonds, with the largest issuance occurring in February.

The DMO issued N418.2 billion of FGN bond in January, N1.49 trillion worth of FGN bonds in February 2024, with interest rates hitting 19 percent for the 10-year bonds. Then in March 2024, the DMO issued N475.7 billion at bumper interest rates, with rate hitting 20.45 percent on the 10-year bond.

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ABCON backs CBN’s prohibition of non export domiciliary account collateral for naira loans

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) directive stopping the use of Non Export Domiciliary Account Collateral for naira loans will boost dollar liquidity, support reserves accretion and strengthen the financial services sector, President, Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), Alhaji (Dr.) Aminu Gwadabe has said.

According to the CBN directive to banks, the use of foreign currency-denominated collaterals for Naira loans is now prohibited, except in cases where the collateral is in the form of Eurobonds issued by the Federal Government of Nigeria or guarantees provided by foreign banks, including Standby Letters of Credit.

In a statement on the apex bank policy and impact on the forex market, Gwadabe described the move as a welcome development, expected to put the excesses of big businesses and manufacturers putting unnecessary pressure on the forex market  in check.

He said, “ABCON members are bewildered that some companies and manufacturers with billions of dollar balances in their non-oil export domiciliary accounts  use it as collateral for naira loans and still source forex in the official window thereby depleting what is available for other operators.

“The stoppage of this unprofitable practice will not only add to the dollar liquidity in the market but also help in the accretion of foreign reserves buffers,” he added.

Gwadabe advised the apex bank to review foreign currency holding guidelines for non-oil export domiciliary accounts proceeds and entrench maximum of 48 hours with a minimum balance of $5k for individuals and $50 k for companies in holding positions as practiced in South Africa.

ABCON chief further advised the CBN not to approve forex requests by manufacturers and other business applicants with billions of dollars holdings in Non export oil proceeds domiciliary accounts at both the NAFEM and NAFEX window.

ABCON boss explained that unfortunately, the BDCs are most times seen as crude but remain an effective market control mechanism with the potent transmission mechanism tool in achieving the CBN’s mandate of price stability and liquidity in the markets.

“We therefore urge the CBN to continue to drive and expand its operations to ensure that the best results now achieved in the last 15 years is maintained and  also ensure exchange rate convergence, market calmness and confidence of the public and foreign investors,” he said.

ABCON leadership, he added, has also called for and advocated for the separation of ownership and operational structures of FMDQ Exchange. The move, he said would ensure more transparency and effectiveness in market operations and price control mechanisms.

Furthermore, ABCON boss urged the CBN to allow legislative decisions on the planned reforms in the BDCs sub-sector to boost foreign investors’ confidence and guarantees in the sectoral transformation.

“We also want to pledge our continuing support to CBN’s proactive and effective policies and meant to address volatility and headwinds in the forex market. As a self regulatory body, ABCON is currently engaging all stakeholders and players in the retail  end market to deepen, liberalise, democratise and centralise the retail end segments of the market for price discovery, market efficiency, transparency, accretion of buffers and healthy balance of payments,” Gwadabe said.

“We applaud the CBN management for the reconsideration and reinstatement of the BDC sub-sector as third leg of the forex market to put hoarding and speculation under check and we have seen faster results than expected,” he stated.

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Money market

CBN slashes exchange rate for Customs duties, provides relief to importers

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Importers in Nigeria have received a welcome reprieve as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced a further reduction in the exchange rate used for calculating Customs duties at the nation’s seaports.

According to information obtained from the official trade portal of the Nigeria Customs Service, the apex bank has slashed the Customs FX duty rate from N1,260.49 per dollar to N1,246.665 per dollar, effective as of Monday, April 8.

This adjustment signifies a 1.1 percent reduction in the exchange rate compared to the previous rate of N1,260.49 per dollar, which was in place as of Friday, April 5. Importers will now benefit from a decrease of N13.825 on each dollar required to clear goods at the port, providing them with much-needed relief amid challenging economic conditions.

The slash in exchange rate for paying import duty is coming on the back of continuous appreciation of the naira in the foreign exchange market with the naira trading at N1,251.05/$ at the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM) on April 5.

What this means is that importers opening Form M today Monday, April 8 for importation will have some measures of relief in terms of the money required to pay import duties compared to the importer who opened Form M on Friday, April 5.

Using the Form M exchange rate to calculate import duties is in line with the apex bank’s new directive that Customs should be using the rate on the date of submitting Form M for calculating import duties.

Meanwhile, there are expectations that the FX rate will witness further decline as the naira grows stronger even as the apex bank plans to sell $15.88 million to 1,588 eligible Bureau De Charge (BDC).

CBN also reviewed the exchange rate for BDC operators to N1,101 per dollar from N1,251/$1.

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