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Economy: CBN Directs Banks to Adopt Official FX Rate for Cross-Border Payments

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

has directed all commercial banks in the Country to adopt the exchange rate in the importer and exporter window (I&E) for cross-border payments through the Pan-African Payments and Settlement System (PAPSS).

PAPSS which is a centralised payment and settlement infrastructure for intra-African trade and commerce payments, was developed by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in partnership with the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI).

CBN gave the directive in a circular introducing the guidelines on operations of PAPSS in Nigeria, recently signed by Ozoemena Nnaji, CBN’s director of trade and exchange department.

The I&E FX window is the market trading segment for investors, exporters and end-users that allows for FX trades to be made at exchange rates determined based on prevailing market circumstances.

Currently, naira trades between N410 and N411 at the market — which the CBN had adopted as the country’s official rate.

By implication, intra-African businesses will need CBN’s approval for banks to convert rates at the prevailing I&E FX rate for cross border payments and transactions.

The circular reads, “All authorised dealers are required to ensure that prevailing exchange rate at Investors and Exporters Forex Window as advised by Financial Markets Department, FMD, should be used in cross-rates conversion between Naira, United States Dollars and third currencies within Africa, for outbound payments and vice-versa for inflows”.

“For settlement of PAPSS transactions by CBN, authorised dealers shall obtain the approval of CBN for dollar cover before initiating payments on PAPSS.

“The request for approval should be forwarded to the Director, Financial Markets Department, CBN.

“That eligible payment of imports and receipt of export proceeds by the CBN shall be restricted to trade-backed transactions only and that the documentation requirements stipulated in Memorandum 9 and 10 of the Foreign Exchange Manual (2018) and other extant circulars shall apply. Import payments shall also be restricted to goods of African origin.”

According to the circular, all the required documentation should be provided before a transaction is initiated on PAPSS by authorised dealers and their customers.

It further noted that export proceeds repatriated to CBN under PAPSS shall be subject to certification by respective processing banks as being repatriated by the exporter.

The circular added that the provisions of all existing guidelines, circulars, and directives on the operations of foreign exchange market shall apply.

The CBN, however, stated that only eligible transactions as may be determined by the central bank from time to time shall be eligible for payment on PAPSS. “Items classified ‘not valid for Foreign Exchange’ shall remain ineligible,” the circular adds.

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SON insist on international best practices, set-up committee to audit, certify education sector

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In ensuring that educational management system in the country deliver on their mandate of impacting knowledge and skills, the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) has inaugurated national technical committee for adoption and certification of education management standards.

At the inauguration in Abuja, Farouk Salim, Director General of SON, said one of the challenges facing Nigeria has been international standards both in products and services delivery, which is why the organisation is aligning to best international practice.

“One of SON mandate is to support all businesses in determining quality of products/services using ; standardization, certifications and quality assurance. As such our decision to adopt this international standard on educational organizations management system ISO 21001:2018 is apt at this time when we have opened our borders to all forms of trade with other African countries.

“It is important that we promote and sustain our learning institutions by ensuring that the services that are provided in our schools meet the needs of learners, promote equal opportunities for all students and earn the confidence and approval of learners’ sponsors in order to contribute their quota to national growth and development,” he said.

Salim, represented by Engr. Timothy Abner, Director Training services at the SON added that although government is doing a lot to upgrade the standard of products and the education sector, he however also noted there should be additional effort of adopting and establishing this international best practice will assist Nigeria to always deliver globally recognized services and products in different sectors of the economy.

The Committee is to draw up requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of educational organizations management systems.

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Business & Economy

Senate summons CBN Governor over naira fall

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…proceeds on annual recess till Sept. 20 
The Senate, on Wednesday, resolved to summon the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, to educate and inform senators in a closed session on the reasons for the rapid depreciation of the value of the naira.
It also mandated the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions to assess the impact of CBN intervention funds meant to support critical sectors of the economy.
The resolutions were reached by lawmakers after the upper chamber considered a motion sponsored by Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi (APC – Ekiti North).
The motion was entitled, “State of CBN Intervention Funds and Free Fall Of Naira.”
Coming under Order 41 and 51 of the Senate Standing Order, as amended, Adetunmbi bemoaned Nigeria’s economic reality amid an urgent call for “extraordinary measures”.
He noted that the CBN through its numerous multi-sectoral intervention funds, provided special funds to support critical sectors of the economy.
He explained that in view of such interventions, it had become necessary to assess the state of implementation and effectiveness of the funds deployed for the purpose.
The lawmaker, recalled that the CBN in 2021, placed an indefinite halt on forex bidding by Bureau de Change operators (BDCS) and importers over allegations of abuse and mismanagement.
He observed that the halt by the CBN resulted in a spike of the exchange rate.
According to Adetunmbi, “the two instruments of Personal Travel Allowance (PTA) and Business Travel Allowance (BTA) could only serve less than 20% of the total forex demand by travelers and businesses.”
He expressed worry that the import and export window meant to serve the forex needs of business giants, “has become a rare opportunity that only a privileged few can access.”
“These and a number of others have contributed to the excessive scarcity of forex in Nigeria today”, he added.
He noted that as at the 26th of July 2022 (yesterday), the exchange rate in the autonomous segment (BDCS) of the foreign exchange market is N670 to 1 United States Dollar and projected to end at N1000 by end of the year based on the current rate of depreciation.
He, therefore, advised the Central Bank to take new measures to curb forex scarcity and address the sliding rate of Naira exchange.
In his contribution, Senator Sani Musa (APC – Niger East), faulted the Central Bank’s decision to halt foreign exchange biddings, thereby cutting off the parallel market – Bureau de change operators.
According to him, the attempt by the CBN to control the value of the naira with the continuous exclusion of BDCs would only lead to its further depreciation.
He, therefore, advised the apex bank to rather ensure the regulation and monitoring of the parallel market.
“What CBN used to do was to give out $10,000 (USD) to each of these BDCs with a clear directive for it not to be sold above N470 as against the $419 exchange rate. It worked.
“But today, nobody is determining where the rate is going and I can assure you we can’t have that solution because we are only importing”, he said.
On his part, Senator representing Katsina North District, Senator Ahmad Babba-Kaita, said one way to improve the value of the naira was to encourage foreign investments to attract inflow of other currencies into Nigeria.
“The only way we can access the dollar will be determined by other economies and not ours”, he noted.
He, however, attributed the lack of foreign investments into Nigeria on the poor security situation caused by banditry, terrorism and other criminal activities.
The Senate, in its resolutions, called on the CBN to urgently intervene to stop the rapid decline in the value of the Naira vis-à-vis the Dollar and other international currencies.
It also mandated the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions to conduct an assessment of CBN intervention funds and the declining value of Naira to come up with sustainable solutions.
The Senate, at the end of Wednesday’s proceedings, adjourned plenary till September 20th, 2022, for its annual recess.
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Business & Economy

Buhari seeks Senate’s nod on four re-appointed nominees as Directors of CBN board

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The Senate, on Tuesday, received a request from President Muhammadu Buhari, to confirm the re-appointment of four nominees as Non-Executive Directors of the Board of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The request was contained in a latter dated 21st July, 2022, and read at the start of plenary by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.

The President, in the letter, explained that the request to confirm the nominees was made in accordance with Section 10(3)(a) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (Establishment) Act 2007.

The nominees for confirmation include: Prof. Mike Idiahi Obadan (South South), Prof. Justitia Odinakachukwu Nnabuko (South East), Prof. Ummu Ahmed Jalingo (North East), and Mr. Adeola Adetunji (South West).

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