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Economists express concerns over $3bn NNPCL loan



Financial economists are worried about the three billion dollars crude oil repayment loan secured by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Ltd., to prevent the Naira from slumping further.


The experts expressed their worry in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.


Some of the experts said that the loan was an unhealthy signal for investors, while others noted that it would be a source of funds that could be used to cover losses.


Ndubisi Nwokoma, Director, Centre for Economic Policy Analysis and Research, University of Lagos, Akoka, said that the loan would not have any significant impact in preventing the Naira from slumping further.


He also said that it would add to the national debt burden, thereby, putting more pressure on the debt service capacity.


“I think it is largely cosmetic. If there’s no sustained inflow of foreign currency, then, the benefits of this arrangement will be short-lived.


“What government needs to do is to remove political interference in the foreign exchange markets and create conducive environment for production and sustained foreign capital inflow,’’ Nwokoma said.


A professor of Economics at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun, Sherrifdeen Tella, said that the loan which was attached to fuel supply, would have no major negative implications for CBN.


“It is like secured crude oil sales, except that the country will not benefit from sudden increase in oil price from the sale to that country.”


Uche Uwaleke, Director, Institute of Capital Market Studies, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, said that contracting external loans to lend to CBN would create an erroneous impression of insolvency on the part of the bank.


According to him, the borrowing would not be a healthy signal to foreign investors.


“As much as intervention in the foreign exchange market by the CBN was desirable, a more cost effective option would have been to use what was left of our external reserves as opposed to taking a loan from Afreximbank or even the International Monetary Fund.


“May I add that contracting external loans to lend to the CBN creates an erroneous impression of insolvency on the part of the CBN which is not a healthy signal to foreign investors.


“Also, if the security for the loan are some barrels of future crude oil production, at what forward contract price has this been negotiated?


“In view of the fact that all proceeds of crude oil sales are paid into the federation account, this sort of swap transactions has implications for FAAC receipts meant for the three tiers of government,’’ he said.


“By implication, the Federal Government that is already saddled with huge debt is borrowing to lend to the CBN, when it should have been the other way round.


“Ultimately, this new loan contracted by the NNPCL adds to the growing public debt and may have been contracted at non concessionary terms being an emergency loan.’’


Uwaleke urged the government to ensure that Nigerians, especially the National Assembly, were informed about the terms of the loan and the collateral security involved.


He said that the three billion dollars loan on the balance sheet of NNPCL would make the company less attractive and possibly jeopardize the ongoing plan to privatise the company by listing it on the Nigerian Exchange.


NAN recalls that NNPC Ltd. and Afreximbank had on Aug. 5, jointly sealed a three billion dollars crude oil repayment loan deal at the bank’s headquarters in Cairo, Egypt


The signing was to provide some immediate disbursement that will enable the NNPC Ltd. to support the federal government in its ongoing fiscal and monetary policy reforms aimed at stabilising the exchange rate market.

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Naira surges strong against Dollar, hits N750.15 in Forex rally



In a robust display, Nigeria’s currency, the Naira, surged ahead against the US Dollar at the foreign exchange market on Monday, maintaining its upward trajectory.

Official data from FMDQ revealed a noteworthy appreciation as the Naira strengthened to N750.15 against the Dollar at the close of Monday’s trading, marking an impressive gain of N40.75 compared to Friday’s exchange rate of N791.25/$1.

Simultaneously, the parallel market experienced a surge, with rates climbing to N1,130/$1 on Monday from the previous N1,140 on Friday.

Dayyabu Mistila, a Bureau De Change operator in Wuse Zone 4 Abuja, verified the uptick, confirming sales at N1,130 and purchases at N1,140 on Friday.

This surge follows a remarkable N31.23 gain recorded on Wednesday, defying October’s inflation hike in Nigeria, as reported by DAILY POST.

As the Naira continues its winning streak, all eyes turn to the upcoming economic roadmap presentation by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Dr. Olayemi Cardoso, at the annual Bankers’ Dinner of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria on Friday, 25th November, 2023.

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Rice prices soar by 37% as Nigeria grapples with growing supply gap



Rice prices soar by 37% as Nigeria grapples with growing supply gap

A substantial 37% surge in the market cost of rice has left the staple food in short supply, intensifying concerns over the widening annual supply gap. The AFEX Wet Season Crop Production Report for 2023 reveals that the availability drop has resulted in a staggering two million metric tonnes increase in the supply deficit each year.

The report states, “Rice consumption in Nigeria has been steadily increasing, nearly matching the annual population growth projection of 2.6 per cent at two per cent. This has led to a supply gap of about 2 million metric tonnes annually.”

Nigeria, once Africa’s top rice producer in 2021, with an output of 8.3 million metric tons, now faces challenges due to surging consumption rates. Despite potential net rice export capabilities, the country has spent over $15 billion in the past decade to meet its escalating rice consumption.

The Rice Outlook report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts Nigeria’s importation of 2.1 million metric tons of rice in 2024, potentially making the nation the world’s leading rice buyer. This follows the recent decision by the Federal Government to lift the ban on rice importation.

While the ban was in place, imports plummeted by 98.4% between January and July 2022. The increase in rice prices is attributed to production setbacks caused by flooding and the repercussions of global market dynamics.

Factors contributing to the global rice price surge include India’s ban on rice exports, the world’s second-largest rice exporter, and potential production impact from El Nino in key regions. Rain-induced disruptions and quality variations during Vietnam’s summer-autumn harvest have further fueled the price hike. The report anticipates a 4% increase in rice production with an additional 32% rise in the price of paddy rice.

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Public schools empty, banks closed in Osun as NLC, TUC members protest



Public schools empty, banks closed in Osun as NLC, TUC members protest

The nationwide strike declared by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has taken its toll in Osogbo, Osun State, with public school students sent home and banks opting to remain closed.


Observations by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) revealed a significant impact on public schools, where students were seen leaving various primary and secondary schools and heading home. At CAC Grammar School, Gbodofon, Osogbo, the school gate stood wide open, allowing students to exit, while teachers gathered under a tree for discussions.


In tandem with the strike’s influence, several banks in Osogbo chose not to open their doors to customers, with some displaying hesitation and a few engaging in business transactions. The state secretariat in Abere witnessed a notable decline in activity, as most offices appeared deserted, and only a limited number of workers were observed within the premises.


A confidential source from the secretariat acknowledged that the strike had yet to fully materialize, highlighting the absence of the usual barricades by members of the NLC and other unions. Security personnel were strategically stationed at the entrance of the secretariat and other key locations in Osogbo.


Modupeola Oyedele, the Osun State NLC Caretaker Chairperson, confirmed to NAN that the strike adheres to directives from the NLC and TUC headquarters. She emphasized that the primary instruction was for workers to abstain from work without engaging in street protests.


“We are not doing street protest with the strike. The instruction is for workers to abstain from work and we are complying.


Public schools have sent back their students in compliance with the strike.


Many send their students back this morning because the strike directive came late last night, so that is why students were turned back after getting to school.


We are ensuring that there is compliance as our officials are at the state secretariat to ensure workers do not resume in their offices,” Oyedele explained.


The strike directive, issued on Monday evening by the labour unions, was met with resistance from the government, which deemed it illegal.

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