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CBN Raises Interest Rate To 22.75% 

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The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria has increased the benchmark interest rate by 400 basis points to a record 22.75%.
The CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, disclosed this while reading the communiqué of the first MPC meeting of the year in Abuja, yesterday.
Addressing journalists at the end of the two-day meeting in Abuja, Cardoso said the committee voted to adjust the asymmetric corridor around the MPR to +100 to -700 from plus 100 to -300 basis points and raised the cash reserve ratio from 32.5 percent to 45 percent
He said, “All 12 members of the committee decided to further tighten monetary policy by raising the MPR by 400 basis points to 22.75 per cent from 18.75 per cent. Adjust the asymmetric corridor around the MPR to +100 to -700 from plus 100 to -300 basis points.
“The committee also raised the cash reserve ratio from 32.5 per cent to 45 per cent while retaining the liquidity ratio at 30 per cent.”
At the last meeting in July 2023, the MPC, headed by the former acting governor of the apex bank, Folashodun Shonubi, increased the monetary policy rate by 25 basis points to 18.75 per cent, from 18.5 per cent in May last year.
The capital requirement ratio was retained at 32.5 per cent while the liquidity ratio stood at 30 per cent.
Since then, the MPR has risen from 13 per cent in May 2022 to 18.75 per cent in July 2023 when the last MPC was held.
Analysts’ expectations had been divergent ahead of the first MPC meeting, but the new rate surpassed all projections by financial experts.
According to a Reuters poll released last Friday, Nigeria is expected to implement two aggressive interest rate hikes in less than two months to control inflation and strengthen the naira, following a few missed monetary policy sessions
It said the policy rate is expected to increase by 225 basis points to 21.00 per cent despite the local currency still trading near its record low on the black market.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu had said interest rates needed to be reduced to increase investment and consumer purchasing in ways that sustain the economy at a higher level.
Meanwhile, the CBN has announced its decision to sell foreign exchange worth $20,000 to each eligible Bureau De Change operator across the country.
This is coming more than two years after the suspended former CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, stopped the sales of foreign exchange to BDC operators in that segment of the forex market.
The apex bank disclosed this in a new circular issued and signed by the Director, Trade and Exchange Department, Hassan Mahmud, yesterday.
The circular titled, “Sale of Foreign Exchange to Bureau de Change Operators to meet retail demand for eligible invisible transactions”, said the move aimed at rectifying the persisting distortions in the retail segment of Nigeria’s foreign exchange market and bridging the widening gap in the exchange rate.
It said the allocation will be sold at a rate of N1,301/$, reflecting the lower band rate of executed spot transactions at the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market as of the previous trading day, dated February 27, 2024.
The circular read, “Following the ongoing reforms in the foreign exchange market, aimed at achieving an appropriate market-determined exchange rate for the Naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria has observed the continued price distortions at the retail end of the market, which is feeding into the parallel market and further widening the exchange rate premium.
“To this end, the CBN has approved the sale of foreign exchange to eligible Bureau De Change to meet the demand for invisible transactions. The sum of $20,000 is to be sold to each BDC at the rate of N1,301/$- (representing the lower band rate of executed spot transactions at NAFEM for the previous trading day, as of today, 27th February 2024).
“All BDCs are allowed to sell to end-users at a margin NOT MORE THAN one per cent (1 per cent) above the purchase rate from CBN.”
It further directed eligible BDCs to make Naira payments to the designated CBN Foreign Currency Deposit Naira Accounts and submit confirmation of payment, with other necessary documentation.
“All eligible BDCs are directed to make the Naira payment to the designated CBN Foreign Currency Deposit Naira Accounts and submit confirmation of payment, with other necessary documentation, for disbursement at the appropriate CBN Branches Abuja, Awka, Lagos and Kano,” it added.
The CBN in frantic efforts to save the free fall of the naira has made a number of significant reforms towards addressing Naira depreciation, such as probing and clearing FX backlog, limiting forex for foreign education and medical tourism, increasing BDCs’ minimum share capital, and curbing FX speculators, among others.

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Firm Launches New Radio Campaign For Product

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An oil and gas firm, 11 Plc, has launched a new jingle for its mobil super lubricants.
The firm in a statement recently indicated that it is the sole distributor of Mobil fuel and lubricant brands in Nigeria, noting that the radio campaign was aimed at making the brand Nigerian customers’ choice.
“The campaign, which hit the airwaves three weeks ago, was launched to create fresh awareness for all category users of the premium lubricants during the Easter and Ramadan period and beyond”, the statement said.
According to the firm, Mobil Superbrand is a global family of premium passenger vehicle engine oils that provides different levels of protection to match whatever conditions users of the products may encounter.
The company said its vision was to be the number one business group in Nigeria in terms of sustained service, quality and reliability and the first brand of preference by the consumers whilst conducting operations with high safety standards and environmental compliance.
It added that it aimed to provide the best in class products, services and solutions to customers with a focus on safety and environmental standards.

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Arik Air Explains Flight Cancellation In PH Airport

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Arik Airline has clarified that the incident that resulted in passengers getting stranded at Port Harcourt Airport last Tuesday was due to adverse weather conditions.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Public Relations Manager of the airline, Adebanji Ola.
Some passengers of the Arik Air had expressed frustration over being left stranded at Port Harcourt Airport after their flight to Lagos was abruptly cancelled.
The affected passengers, scheduled for the flight from Port Harcourt to Lagos State, got upset by the development, and took to social media platforms to express their grievances.
Nevertheless, the airline had in the statement, reiterated its commitment to safety, highlighting its strict policy to avoid flying in inclement weather conditions, which they said had necessitated the cancellation of the affected flight.
It extended its apologies to customers whose travel plans were disrupted by the unforeseen circumstances, reaffirming its dedication to prioritising passenger welfare.
“We are aware of a recent story circulated in social media alleging that passengers were left stranded at Port Harcourt Airport under our care. It is imperative that we provide clarity on this matter to rectify any misconceptions.
“In the evening of Tuesday, April 2, 2024, our flight W3 744 Lagos-Port Harcourt was compelled to make an air return due to adverse weather conditions, specifically heavy rainfall and thunderstorms in Port Harcourt.
“Consequently, both the Lagos-Port Harcourt (W3 744) and Port Harcourt-Lagos (W3 745) flights had to be cancelled.
“It is crucial to note that by the time of the cancellation, our banking facilities at the airport had ceased operations, rendering funds unfeasible at that moment.
“However, the passengers were promptly briefed on the situation and advised to return the following day for re-protection on available flights”, it stated.
The statement added that on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, all the affected passengers from both Lagos and Port Harcourt were successfully accommodated on available morning and evening flights.

Corlins Walter

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Settlement On Course For Redundancy Benefits – Aero Airline 

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The Aero Contractors Airline has affirmed  its commitment to clear the remaining five per cent of redundancy benefits owed its workers.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Captain Ado Sanusi, in a press release said the firm was intensifying efforts to address outstanding financial commitments.
He faulted the move by workers union, the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), to issue a press statement, despite ongoing efforts to resolve the issue amicably.
“This should not be an opportunity for disharmony, dialogue is a process. There was a letter written, there was a process agreed upon, and all of a sudden they went to the press. We are ready to resolve the issue”, the CEO stated.
NAAPE had recently issued a letter threatening to go on a protest over non-payment of outstanding redundancy benefits to its members.
The group accused the management of Aero Contractors of depriving the affected former workers access to their entitled benefits.
The protest letter, addressed to the management of the airline, read in part: “Consequent upon the avalanche of complaints received from our members who have been deprived of their fundamental entitlements and denied the rightful collection of their redundancy benefits in the last seven years and given the anguish and mental agonies suffered by them, We are compelled, as responsible representatives of these eminent men/women, including the dead, to protest through this letter and express our bitterness over management’s seeming lackadaisical attitude, insincerity and insensitivity to the continued wellbeing of these great Nigerians”.
The Aero CEO, however, clarified that in the last seven years, the company has paid approximately 95 per cent of the redundancy benefits.
“We should be given credit because this management initiated the process of paying off redundancy. We want our prospective investors to understand that we are a very responsible company, and we take our obligations seriously, not only for staff but also in other areas.
“We update them on a day-to-day basis to ensure business continuity. It is a very tough environment in which we are operating”, he said.
Sanusi stressed the importance of maintaining transparency and communication with stakeholders throughout the process.
He said despite challenges posed by fluctuating exchange rates and fuel costs, Aero Contractors remained steadfast in its efforts to uphold its obligations and ensure business continuity.

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