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Nigeria’s external reserves slip below $45 billion in just two months

Nigeria’s external reserves have continued to drop in recent weeks and officially slipped below $45 billion, the height it climbed just barely two months ago

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Foreign reserves, Nigeria’s External reserves

Nigeria’s external reserves have continued to drop in recent weeks and slipped below $45 billion.

Data obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) shows that the external reserves now hover around $44.8 billion. Specifically, it took Nigeria 8 months to build the external reserves to hit $45 billion two months ago, after it fell below $45 billion in September 2018.

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Depleting Reserves: A closer look into the CBN data in the last 12 months shows that the figure was at $45 billion as of September 2018 after which it began the free fall.

  • Meanwhile, as oil prices improved in the global oil market, Nigeria’s external reserves rallied from a low $41 billion in November 2018 to $45 billion in June 2019.
  • In less than four weeks, external reserves fell by $327 million.

[READ MORE: Official: Nigeria’s external reserves hit $45 billion mark]

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Why reserve is depleting: The fall in reserves accumulation may be connected to prices of oil which have declined in recent weeks.

  • For instance, Brent oil price dropped to below $60 a barrel in the early hours of Tuesday, as trade tension between the U.S and China intensified. An earlier report showed that the sharp drop in oil price might threaten the implementation of Nigeria’s 2019 budget that was benchmarked at $60 crude oil per barrel.
  • Other factors that may be responsible include the slow down in the capital market and possibly CBN interventions in the Investors and Exporters’ window (I&E).
  • Also, the growing external debt may also be frustrating the Federal Government into a financial strain. While Nigeria’s debt profile has become worrisome, with the declining oil price, the country’s reserves are the last resort.

A quick move by the CBN? The Central Bank may have predicted the imminent decline in external reserves as the recent policy moves by the apex bank suggest so.

  • The most recent policy of the CBN is the planned Forex restrictions on milk importation and other dairy products.
  • Despite the escalating criticisms concerning its policy to restrict FOREX for milk importation, the Central Bank appears ready to include milk and other dairy products as part of the 41 items under restriction.
  • According to the apex bank, the restriction is a move to conserve between $1.2 billion and $1.5 billion spent by the country annually on the importation of milk and other dairy products.

Bottom line: While the decline in foreign reserves may not be considered a major movement, a continued fall in oil prices may largely affect the country’s external reserves and this puts the economy is a bad state.

In the meantime, if the Central Bank forges ahead to restrict FOREX for milk importation, it will slightly ease pressure on the country’s external reserves.

[READ FURTHER: Critical times loom for Nigeria as oil price dips below $60 budget benchmark]

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Samuel is an Analyst with over 5 years experience. Connect with him via his twitter handle

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Business News

Job listings spike up by 183% in April –Jobberman

Jobberman released figures showing a 183% increase in job listings on its platform in April 2020, thanks to its #UnityInAdversity campaign.

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Job listings spike up by 183% in April – Jobberman

Notable job placement website, Jobberman, has released figures showing that there was a 183% increase in job listings on its platform in the month of April 2020.

This increase, according to Jobberman, is a result of the #UnityInAdversity campaign which allowed companies to post job listings and access Jobberman’s database of over 2.2 million professionals across Nigeria for free, rather than paying the usual fees. This was the company’s way of showing support to businesses and individuals, amid the economic challenges which resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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According to the release from Jobberman, this campaign came at a cost to the company since it was trading off its revenue by offering for free, the same services which formed its major source of income.

“At the beginning of March, Jobberman Nigeria saw a 70 percent decrease in job listings due to the reduced economic activity caused by the enforced lockdown and many companies shutting down recruitment budgets to cut costs. Jobseeker sign-ups also decreased by 17 percent. Jobberman took the bold step to put employers’ and job seekers’ needs first” the statement read.

(READ MORE: Merger, Tax incentive boosts BUA Cement FY 2019 result)

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The campaign, which is billed to run till June 30, has paid off greatly as data for April’s job listings alone was more than that of the entire Q1 2020 period. See a breakdown of the job listings below:

  • Almost a fifth of the positions (18.79%) were listed in the tech sector
  • Banking, finance, and insurance accounted for 9.27%
  • Education and training had 6.78 percent
  • IT & Software positions accounted for 11.69%
  • Sales had 13.32%.

Note that with the increase in job listings, job seeker sign-ups also increased by 39% in April alone.

Job listings spike up by 183% in April – Jobberman

Speaking about the campaign, the CEO of Jobberman Nigeria, Hilda Kragha said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has made the process of connecting talent to opportunities more complicated and we are fully aware of the strain businesses and individuals in Nigeria are facing. We plan to be here for the next 10 years so making this small sacrifice to help our users navigate these difficult times is something that we think is definitely worth doing”.

Kragha also noted that the campaign has encouraged healthy competition as candidates strive to show themselves qualified for the position.

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“We have found that soft skills such as emotional intelligence, business etiquette, time management, which are often overlooked and underestimated in Nigeria, can make a big difference. We know the power of soft skills and we are committed to empowering individuals with the training and soft skills they need to succeed in the workplace” she explained further.

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(READ MORE: Partnerships Beyond The Partners… Another Lesson From Interswitch)

Sequel to this, the company also launched a free soft skills training programme to help job seekers (between age 18 and 30 years) acquire the needed soft skills and better their chances of gaining employment.

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Economy & Politics

Gold prices rise, as President Trump decides on China today

Gold prices jumped on Friday as China and America’s drift deepened over further moves by China to impose security laws on Hong Kong

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Gold, Gold prices tick up as President Trump decides on China today

Gold prices jumped on Friday as China and America’s drift deepened over further moves by China to impose security laws on Hong Kong, lifting the allure of safe havens amid market uncertainties.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser cautioned the Chinese lately that Hong Kong, which has enjoyed special privileges, may now be treated like China when it comes to financial matters and trade.

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Trump, who had earlier vowed a tough action on China, will hold a news conference today to announce what measures his administration will take.

Spot gold gained about 0.1% at $1,719.63 per ounce, and U.S. gold futures rose 0.4% to $1,734.60.

The friendship between the Americans and Chinese had weakened, since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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President Trump and President Jinping of China have accused each other as a result of issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

(READ MORE:  Gold records 3-week high, as investors rush to safe haven)

Why do Investors buy Gold? Global Investors most often buy the safe-haven asset in times of uncertainty and use it to hedge against cash (inflationary macros).

Oil prices, Gold prices tick up as President Trump decides on China today

“The possible U.S. response could range from a tearing up of the Phase 1 trade deal and fresh tariffs on China, to milder travel or financial sanctions on Chinese officials,” said Shane Oliver, chief economist at Australian wealth manager AMP to Reuters News.

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“It is seen as a major threat to the rally we’ve had and the recovery,” “If it’s at the relatively mild end, then I don’t think it would derail the recovery bull market, but if it’s at the more extreme end with tariffs and harsh treatment of Hong Kong, then I think it gets more problematic,” Oliver added.

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Business News

AfDB board denies asking Adesina to step down, as Obasanjo says the bank risks being hijacked

“The Bureau of the board of governors informs the public that it has not taken any decision. Everyone must allow the Bureau to do its work and allow due process to reign.”

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AfDB partners DFID to unveil $80m infrastructure financing for Africa, ADB launches $3 billion “Fight COVID-19” Social Bond, US calls for an independent probe of AfDB president, Akinwumi Adesina, AfDB board denies asking Adesina to step down as Obasanjo says the bank risks being hijacked

The Bureau of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has denied media reports making the rounds that AfDB’s president, Akinwumi Adesina, has been asked to step down pending the completion of the probe and determination of allegations against him.

The bank’s top governing board members said that they have not asked Adesina to step down from his position as president, even as the board continues to review the fallout of complaints by some whistleblower. The statement from the Chairman of the bank’s board of governors, Niale Kaba, said:

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“The Bureau of the board of governors informs the public that it has not taken any decision. Everyone must allow the Bureau to do its work and allow due process to reign. All governors will be carried along in resolving the issue.’’

READ ALSO: IMF advises banks to suspend dividend payment

Kaba also stressed that there was no governance crisis at AfDB as was being speculated in certain quarters. He confirmed that the Bureau of the Board of Governors of AfDB met on Tuesday, May 26, after the request by the U.S Secretary calling for an independent probe. The essence of the meeting was to take a closer look at the allegations by the whistleblowers against Akinwumi Adesina, said allegations which had already been investigated by the ethics committee of the bank.

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Kaba further disclosed that even though no decision has been taken yet, the bureau assures that it is treating the case with the utmost seriousness that it deserves.

(READ MORE:  AfDB bows to pressure from U.S, orders an independent probe of Akinwumi Adesina)

Adesina, who maintains his innocence of those allegations, had stated that a fair, transparent, and just process will vindicate him.

In a related development, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo had thrown his weight behind Adesina and kicked against the demand by the United States of America for a fresh, independent probe of the AfDB President who had earlier been cleared by the ethics committee of the bank.

In his letter to 12 former African Presidents, Obasanjo said that Africa must stand up and not allow its institutions to be unduly controlled by non-African countries.

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Obasanjo said that the bank has witnessed tremendous growth under Adesina’s leadership and has doubled its capital base since he took over.

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