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AfDB Approves $10m For W’African Emerging Market Fund

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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Groups has approved $10 million investment in the West Africa Emerging Market Fund (WAEMF).  The investment makes the AfDB one of the lead investors in the fund, at par with the CDC (Commonwealth Development Corporation) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

The WAEMF is sponsored by three well recognized institutional investors (Colina, NSIA and CNPS) and by Phoenix Capital Management (PCM, a local investment partner.  Both (dina and NSIA are regional insurance companies from West African, while CNPS is the Ivorian National Pension Fund.

The fund targets the SME market and thus helps support non-public companies that demonstrate high growth potential, including in the financial services and infrastructure sectors.  The fund will thus also contribute to government efforts to boost employment opportunities, increase GDP, and  reduce poverty in line with the Millennium Development Goals.

The Bank Group’s participation in the fund plays a catalytic role by attracting other institutional investors to support the mobilization efforts of the sponsors to reach the target capitalisation of  US $50 million.  It will also send a positive signal to the market which will help attract long-term private investors to the region, and may lead to other co-financing opportunities  with other Development Finance Institutions (DFIs).

“I am concerned that we have got banks that are spreading across different African countries and while we sign MOUs with other regulators, we don’t have an African framework for crossborder supervision”, he said, adding: “I think Nigerians, the South Africans, the Ghanains, the BCEAO (West African Central Bank), the Central African regulators can together build a framework that makes sure all banks that operate anywhere in Africa are closely regulated”.

Such framework would make it easier for Africa to deal with regulators such as Britain’s Financial Services Authority, the US Federal Reserve and China’s Central Bank, he said.

He noted that Nigerian banks have branches spread across Africa and  that poses credit and market  risks, as well as risks to the reputation of the country’s banking Industry as a whole.

The CBN last month injected N400 billion into five banks and sacked their chiefs, saying reckless lending and tax governance allowed them to become so weakly capitalized that they posed systematic risk.

The move by Sanusi, two months after he took office, sent shockwaves through the system as the apex bank listed some of the country’s biggest corporate names as bad debtors and pledged to recover the funds.

Sanusi said some N90 billion had so far been recovered while the EFCC has pressed criminal charges against four of the five bank chief executives, with the fifth outside the country and already declared wanted.

The bailout  of Afribank, Finbank , Intercontinental Bank, Oceanic Bank and  Union Bank came after an audit of 10 banks.

The regulator has finished auditing 11 more banks and is currently examining the final three namely Citibank, Stanbic IBTC and Standard Chartered.

The results are expected next month but the Central Bank has said that those 14 appear in better health.

Sanusi revealed that some banks have been told to make provisions and have enough capital and liquidity to do so, though others may be short of capital, but have no other issues, and will be given time to raise capital.

“There are banks that have temporary liquidity problems – they ‘ve got a mismatch in their balance sheets – and ones will get liquidity support”, he said.

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Senate Confirms Cardoso, 11 Others As Monetary Policy Committee Members 

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The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Olayemi Cardoso as the chairman of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Also confirmed for appointment as members of the MPC yesterday, include, Muhammad Abdullahi, (CBN deputy governor), Bala Bello (CBN deputy governor), Emem Usoro (CBN deputy governor), Philip Ikeazor (CBN deputy governor), Lamido Yuguda, (DG Securities and Exchange Commission) and Jafiya Lydia Shehu, (Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance).

Others are Murtala Sabo Sagagi (CBN director) Aloysius  Ordu, Aku Odukemelu, Mustapha Akinwunmi, and Bamidele Amoo.

President Bola Tinubu had on Wednesday named Cardoso as the chairman and 11 others as members of the MPC.

Tinubu in his letter of nomination to the Senate, said his action was in line with the provisions of Section 12 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007.

The President had about a week ago asked the Senate to confirm Cardoso, as the chairman of the Monetary Policy Committee of the apex bank.

CBN MPC will hold its first policy meeting for the year on February 26 and 27.

The Senate had , on Wednesday, screened the nominated members of the CBN Monetary Policy Committee, questioning them on the lingering foreign exchange and food crises.

 

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‘Unemployment Rate Hit 0.8% In 2023 Q3’

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The unemployment rate in Nigeria rose by 0.8percent in the third quarter of 2023.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), this was a significant rise, adding that the unemployment rate rose from the 4.2percent recorded in Q2 2023 to 5.0 percent in Q3 2023.
The NBS, the custodian of official statistics in the country, disclosed this in a report it published last Monday titled “Nigeria Labour Force Survey Q3 2023”.
“The employment-to-population ratio was 75.6 percent in Q3 2023 with a decrease of 1.5 percent compared to a ratio of Q2 2023.
“The combined rate of unemployment and time-related underemployment as a share of the labour force population (LU2) increased to 17.3percent in Q3 2023 from 15.5percent in Q2 2023.
“About 87.3 percent of workers were self-employed in Q3 2023. The proportion of workers in Wage Employment in Q3 2023 was 12.7 percent.
“The unemployment rate increased significantly in Q3 2023 at 5.0 percent. This is an increase of 0.8 percent from Q2 2023.
“The rate of unemployment among persons with post-secondary education was 7.8 percent in Q3 2023”, the report stated in part.
It added that the unemployment rate for youth between the ages of 15 and 24 years was recorded at 8.6 per cent in Q3 2023 while the informal employment rate in Q3 2023 was 92.3 per cent.
The report added, “The unemployment rate in urban areas was 6.0 percent percentin Q3 2023, a slight increase of 0.1 percent from Q2 2023.
“Time-related underemployment in Q3 2023 was 12.3 percent, showing a slight increase of 0.5 percent from the rate recorded in Q2 2023. This shows an increase of 1.4 percent compared to the rate in Q4 2022.
“4.1percent of the working-age population was in subsistence agriculture in Q3 2023. Informal employment rate in Q3 2023 was 92.3percent, while Q2 2023 was 92.7percent.
“Percentage of youth Not in Employment, Education or Training was 13.7percent in Q3 2023”.
Recall that Nigeria’s inflation rate last Thursday climbed to 29.90 per cent in January 2024 from 28.92 per cent recorded in the previous month.
The 0.98 percent increase shows that the inflation rate in the country is yet to slow down.
The NBS revealed this in its ‘Consumer Price Index’
The development adds more pressure on the Central Bank’s monetary policy committee to sharply raise interest rates at a February  26-27 meeting its first in seven months.

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Merchant Navy Lauds NIWA Over Staff Welfare

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The Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNO/WTSSA) has expressed optimism that the Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Mr. Bola Oyebamiji, will prioritise workers welfare for optimal performance of the agency.
Jibril Darda’u, General Manager, Corporate Affairs, NIWA, in a statement over the weekend, disclosed that the seafarers’ union’s remarks are one of the highlights of the meeting between the Trade Union Congress (TUC) affiliate group and management of the agency.
The statement quoted the Chairman of the NMNO/WTSSA, Comrade Suleiman Danjuma, as commending the Managing Director of NIWA for the good initiative of the kind of interaction that brings the staff closer to the management.
“This will definitely boost the morale of the staff and pledge their loyalty and confidence in the Managing Director’s leadership style”, Danjuma stated.
Earlier, the Managing Director of NIWA promised to build on the progress already achieved at the Lokoja River Port, Kogi State.
The MD disclosed this when he went on a familiarisation tour of NIWA’s facilities in Lokoja.
According to the MD, the importance of Lokoja River Port being in the confluence State is to boost the economic viability of the State and Nigeria at large.
“We are here for facility tour to see for ourselves what is on ground at Jamata Port, Lokoja. It is important we come here to assess the facilities to see, at least, how we can move the facilities forward”, he stated.
Recall that in continuation of his familiarisation tour, the Managing Director’s visited the NIWA Lokoja Area office to inspect the Dockyard facilities.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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