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CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, reacts to devaluation of naira call

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has reacted to analysts’ projections concerning the devaluation of naira.

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The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has reacted to analysts’ projections concerning the devaluation of naira. According to Emefiele’s recent stance, naira devaluation will not be happening anytime soon.

Emefiele reportedly stated that Nigeria’s reserves level remained high and strong enough to be able to meet obligations in the economy despite the recent fluctuations in crude oil prices. He made this known while ruling out the devaluation of naira.

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What analysts said about devaluation: Financial experts and analysts, during the 2020 Nairametrics Economic Outlook Hangout, disclosed that CBN might devalue the naira in 2020 as structural imbalances from the revenue standpoint, development in the global oil market and policies from the CBN among others pose a very bleak outlook for the economy.

All the panellists agreed that there is a high tendency of naira devaluation in 2020 as the Central Bank’s benchmarks for Naira devaluation are USD50/bbl oil price and foreign exchange (FX) reserve levels closer to USD30 billion.

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Speaking on naira devaluation, Cheta Nwanze, Head of Research for SBM Intelligence, disclosed that keeping the exchange rate stable in 2019 came at a cost, with depletion of the reserves which led the CBN Governor to state the triggers for devaluation – reserves at $25 billion–$30 billion and oil prices at $50–$45.

“The Federal Government’s revenue position is alarmingly untenable, and with the modest increase in the National Minimum Wage still yet to take effect, the CBN simply cannot continue to defend the Naira at current levels. We expect the government to be forced into the hard choice of devaluing the currency sometime within the first half of 2020,” Cheta said.

[READ MORE: CBN raises CRR to 27.5%, holds MPR, other parameters constant)

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Emefiele’s response to devaluation call: He said the ups and downs experienced in the reserves have not gone without notice.

“It is important for us to note that reserves is there to meet the country’s obligation. So from time to time reserves would go up and reserves would come down: yes, it is no doubt noticeable, the drop has become so noticeable that people are beginning to say oh, we need resort in the adjustment in the currency.”

He also said, “At a reserve level of about $38 billion today, and crude price at about $57, $60, $65 and sometimes hit $70, we believe that we will be able and we are saying that we should continue to sustain the existing foreign exchange management and stability that we have seen in the market.”

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“There’s no need for anybody to ever think that an adjustment would happen. The CBN is able to meet all obligations, the reserve level is high and strong enough to be able to meet obligations in the economy and so there’s no need for anybody to contemplate that.

“We believe crude price at above $60, today at almost about $66/$67, sometimes hitting $70 is a strong level that can be used to support the economy and also continue to sustain the stability that we see in the foreign exchange market today.”

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Patricia

Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: [email protected]

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Ekomobong Ekanem

    January 29, 2020 at 10:23 am

    Those proposing the devaluation of the Naira are currency speculators passing for financial experts

  2. Abdullahi

    January 29, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    That is very good CBN governor of the masses

  3. Evelyne

    January 29, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    Informative. Doing great.Bur let’s have some news on the achievements on the 2012 FInancial inclusion ploicy.

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Coronavirus

FG announces schedule for 4th evacuation flight from the USA 

The evacuees will be expected to present an original COVID-19 negative test result not older than 14.

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Nigeria sets conditions for border reopening, COVID-19: Nigerians in diaspora have not asked to be evacuated – FG, Attacks on Nigeria diplomatic residence, FG to engage Ghanaian government  

The Federal government has approved the fourth evacuation flight for Nigerians stranded in the United States of America for July 28.  

According to a statement that was signed by the Consulate General of Nigeria, the Ethiopian Airline with flight number ET509 will depart Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey on Tuesday 28 July 2020 by 21:15hrs and arrive Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Wednesday 29 July 2020 by 13:25hrs. 

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“All prospective evacuees duly registered with any of the three Nigerian missions in the USA should purchase their one-way tickets at a cost of $1250 for economy class and $2800 for business class for adult/child fare including all taxes with the usual percentage reduction for infants under 2 years,” the statement read. 

In line with the earlier announced protocols from the Nigerian Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the evacuees will be expected to present an original COVID-19 negative test result not older than 14 days on the day of departure at the airport. 

There will also be a temperature check at the airport, and any intending evacuee with a body temperature above 38°c or any symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 will not be allowed to check-in. 

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Evacuees are also required to wear a face mask as a matter of necessity and be in possession of hand sanitizer for intermittent use during the flight, while also adhering to the instructions of the  

Furthermore, all returnees are enjoined to adhere strictly to all instructions of Port Health Services (PHS) officials and observe other entry screening protocols on arrival. 

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Hospitality & Travel

Covid-19: British High Commission to resume visa application in Nigeria

Nigerians who want to visit the UK can do so as soon as international flight operations resume.

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Covid-19: British High Commission to Resume Visa Application in Nigeria

The British High Commission in Nigeria has announced plans to resume visa processing in the country. It revealed that it will soon begin receiving visa applications from Nigerians who want to travel to the United Kingdom (UK).

This was disclosed in a public statement by the British High Commission in Abuja on Thursday, July 9, 2020.

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It said that Nigerians who want to visit the United Kingdom can do so as soon as the international flight operations resume in the country. The statement said:

“We know there are many Nigerian nationals hoping to be able to travel to the UK when flights resume, both for employment and to see family members.

“UKVI are working closely with TSL contact, our commercial partner, to reopen visa application centres that were suspended due to COVID-19. UK visa application centres are reopening in phased manner globally when it is safe to do so and when we can operate an effective service.

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“TSL contact are putting appropriate measures in place and working hard to reopen in Nigeria. We will share details of when VACs will reopen soon,”

READ MORE: US to stop issuing visa for Birth Tourism 

It can be recalled that the Federal Government had shut down the airports to both domestic and international flight operations in March as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease.

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Following the gradual resumption of domestic flight operations, Nigerians are expecting that international flight operations might be resuming soon.

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Commodities

Nigeria’s excess crude account falls to $72 million

Nigeria’s excess crude account has now fallen by a whopping 98% in just 5 years.

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Capital market to get more tax incentives - FG , FEC reviews Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas project contract, approves $2.571 billion, FG to reduce N1.5 trillion from 2020 budget due to coronavirus

Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account (ECA) now stands at $72 million as the country continues to grapple with an unprecedented revenue crisis not seen since the early eighties. The ECA account has now fallen by about 98% within the last 5 years.

The information on the excess crude account was revealed by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed in a National Economic Council Meeting during the week. The ECA is a savings account retained by the Federal Government and is funded by the difference between the market price of crude oil and the budgeted price of crude oil as contained in the appropriation bill.

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There were major concerns last November when it was reported that the ECA balances held just $324.5 million one of the lowest balances recorded at the time. At $72 million the ECA is in low territory highlighting the effect of the fall in crude oil prices this year. Crude oil prices have crashed to sub-zero in March and have risen back o just over $40/barrel in recent weeks. However, it still remains low from Nigeria’s previous budget benchmark.

ECA in the news

About a year ago Nairametrics reported Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account has dropped to $480 million. This is as controversy continues to trail the $1 billion military spendings which were withdrawn from Nigeria’s Excess Crude. According to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s annual report for 2018, Nigeria’s crude excess account fell from $2.45 billion in 2017 to $480 million as of December 2018.

(READ MORE: Rising COVID-19 cases in world’s biggest economy falter crude oil prices)

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Just 5 years ago (August 2015) the ECA stood at $2.2 billion. This was the early days of the Buhari administration. It was $3.6 billion in February 2014, one of the highest balances on record. That same month, at its monthly FAAC, the government agreed to remove fuel subsidy from its books. Fuel subsidy is currently being borne by the NNPC.

The Controversies: Last year, the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari was accused of mismanaging the country’s Excess Crude Account especially the $1 billion reportedly spent on military equipment.

  • The National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Major General Babagana Monguno Gen. Babagana was quoted to have disclosed that he was not aware of the whereabouts or disbursement of the $1billion drawn from the ECA by the Buhari presidency in 2017 for security purposes.
  • While controversies trail the statement credited to the NSA, with many describing it as diversion of public funds, the Presidency provided some explanations.
  • Responding to the allegations, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed that various procurements had been made for the purchase of critical equipment for the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Navy, and the Air Force, contrary to the allegations.

Nigeria’s ECA in retrospect: In Nigeria, there are two Sovereign Wealth Funds: the Excess Crude Account and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). Note that these two are funded by the savings earned when oil prices are at peak.

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  • Hence, as a larger chunk of revenue is appropriated for ECA and NSIA, the country’s external reserves are likely to fall.
  • Note that the sovereign wealth fund was established to address the controversies surrounding the Excess Crude Account.
  • The fund is usually expected to generate revenue to meet budget shortfalls in the future, provide dedicated funding for the development of infrastructure and saves for future generations.

ECA depleted by 98% in 5 years: A closer look at the various annual reports of the Central Bank of Nigeria shows that Nigeria’s excess crude account has now fallen by a whopping 98% in just 5 years.

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