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Business News

UPDATED: CBN holds MPR at 13.5%, other parameters amidst recession concerns

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has held the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) constant at 13.5%.

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Banks' stakeholders express 4 main concerns bothering the sector right now, CBN, MARKET UPDATE: CBN’s historic agriculture lending; Is it yielding the desired results? 

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has held the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) constant at 13.5%. This was disclosed by Governor, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, while reading the communique at the end of the MPC meeting.

Other parameters such as Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR), Liquidity ratio, and asymmetric corridor remain unchanged. According to the MPC, the decision to hold all rates constant was largely driven by the effect of the outbreak of COVID-19 that has largely disrupted the global economy, as Nigeria faces a crunch test following crash in oil price.

Highlights of the Committee’s decision

  • MPR was kept at 13.50%
  • The asymmetric corridor of +200/-500 basis points around the MPR was retained.
  • CRR was retained at 27.5%
  • While Liquid Ratio was also kept at 30%

READ MORE: China lends helping hand, as Nigeria seeks support to curb coronavirus

The Committees decision

According to Emefiele, the MPC felt that tightening would result in reining in the rising trend in inflation and that it would support reserve accretion. However, this would reduce money supply and limit DMBs credit creation capacity, thus resulting in increasing the cost of credit, with adverse impact on output growth.

With respect to loosening, the Committee felt it would stimulate the economy in the short term, and boost aggregate supply and demand. Nevertheless, the MPC was of the view that there was a need to be cautious in loosening given the fact that it would exacerbate an already worsening inflationary condition, resulting in massive pressure on reserves and the exchange rate.

Based on the balance of these arguments, the MPC stated that due to the recent actions already taken by the Management of the Bank in response to the COVID-19, it resolved to allow time for the measures to permeate the economy while allowing the pandemic to wear out its plateau before deciding on further supporting policy measures to boost and strengthen aggregate demand and supply in the recovery phase of the economy.

Consequently, the choice to hold also considered the subsisting LDR and the CRR policies, which sterilize excess liquidity in the banking system, hence an increase in the MPR would be counter-productive.

The COVID-19 may trigger recession

In its communique, the MPC reviewed prevailing adverse conditions in the global economy such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the oil price shock. According to Emefiele, COVID-19 will also result in massive economic crises that will force many countries into recession, including the leading industrialised countries. On the Nigerian economy, the decline in oil prices will severely impact accretion to external reserves and the exchange rate pressures.

While providing details on the Central Bank’s exchange rate unification, the CBN governor stated that the apex bank’s prompt response with the adjustment of the exchange rate to uniform market rates and the removal of distortions is expected to also impact the economy.

COVID-19 Pandemic dampens outlook

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On the front foot, the MPC underscored that COVID-19 pandemic as a public health crisis will continue to undermine any monetary or fiscal stimulus unless appropriate measures are taken to trace, test, isolate and treat infected persons in order to curtail the spread.

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The MPC, therefore, called on the Federal Government to take the necessary steps to safeguard the population through close monitoring and emergency readiness measures to identify and care for infected persons in the country, including compulsory restriction of movement to curtail the spread of the pandemic.

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Corporate Press Releases

NIFIAN elects JAIZ Bank MD, Hassan Usman as first President

…Inaugurates pioneer EXCO members.

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The Non-Interest Financial Institutions Association of Nigeria (NIFIAN), yesterday in Abuja elected the Managing Director of Jaiz Bank Plc. Hassan Usman as its pioneer President.

Usman was inaugurated alongside other six EXCO members to steer the affairs of the umbrella body of all corporate organisations offering non-interest financial and related services in the country for a first term of 2 years.

Those elected includes Hajara Adeola, Managing Director/CEO, Lotus Capital Limited as Vice-President; Norfadelizan Abdulrahman, Managing Director/CEO of TAJBank Limited as Treasurer; and Fatai Ola Bakare, an astute in-house legal counsel and Islamic Finance expert of SunTrust Bank Nigeria Limited as the Secretary-General.

Other EXCO members inaugurated yesterday include Thaibat Adeniran, Managing Director/CEO, Cornerstone Takaful Nigeria Limited; Aminu Tukur, Managing Director/CEO, Noor Takaful Limited and Dr. Basheer Oshodi, CEO, TrustBank Arthur Limited.

In his opening address, Babayo Saidu, Chairman of NIFIAN’s Board of Trustees said the Association was registered on 28th August 2020, and duly incorporated at the Corporate Affairs Commission under Part C of the Companies and Allied Matters Act.

Parts of the objectives of NIFIAN is to promote common interest of member-organisations towards developing the non-interest financial services industry in Nigeria, creating an enabling regulatory environment through advocacy as well as deepening financial inclusion through market engagements and financial literacy. In addition, the Association aims to improve market resilience by fostering collaboration across the industry, promoting policies and programmes on Financial Inclusion, and sensitization of the populace for the economic development of the country through non-interest financial services offering.

The Executive Council is expected to steer the affairs of the Association towards the realisation of its objectives for the advancement of financial inclusion through non-interest finance in Nigeria.

In his inaugural address, Hassan Usman said the journey started more than a decade ago with Nigeria Islamic Finance Working Group, a multi-institutional platform under the auspice of EFInA (Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access.)

Usman said: “As today marks a new chapter in our pursuit, I would like to reiterate the fact that we are not there yet. This course is a journey and not a destination. While the overarching objective remains constant, the detailed operational and strategic initiatives of the Association shall continue to evolve to meet the requirements of the day.

“To this end, I pledge that over the course of my tenure, I will work with my colleagues in the Council to push some prominent initiative including promotion of sound Islamic banking and financial system and practise in Nigeria; growth and development of requisite market infrastructures such as an efficient non-interest inter-bank system.

“Pursuit of harmony in Shariah pronouncements (fatwas); represent the interest of members locally and internationally; provide advice and assistance to members pertinent to the development of their institution and deepen public awareness. I look forward to working with members to make Nigeria the Islamic Finance Hub of Africa.”

In addition, the President singled-out EFInA for the role played as the founder of what becomes NIFIAN today through its concerted support for the propagation of financial inclusion initiates through the non-interest finance industry. With the inauguration of persons of track records into the Executive Council of the Association, NIFIAN is therefore set to take on the charge towards developing the Nigerian financial markets.

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Consumer Goods

Unilever to spin off Tea business such as Lipton, Brooke Bond in major restructuring

Unilever wants to split its Tea business as a separate entity.

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Unilever Overseas increases stake in Unilever Nigeria Plc

Leading personal care and consumer goods company, Unilever announced plans to spin off its tea business into a separate legal entity.

The company announced this via a press release published on the website of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The announcement is coming at least 6 months after its parent company, Unilever Global announced plans of a spin-off of its Tea business.

According to a press release seen by Nairametrics, by the company’s management through Abidemi Ademola, the Company Secretary, the strategic review which includes leading brands such as Lipton, Brooke Bond and PG Tip will go through the normal approval process, adding that the process is expected to be concluded by the end of 2021.

The planned separation will take full effect on all the balance of Unilever’s tea brands and geographies and all tea estates outside India and Indonesia, as the company will be retaining the tea businesses in India and Indonesia.

What they are saying

Prior to the recent disclosure, Unilever made the planned separation of the company’s tea business known on the 5th of August 2020.

The Global Chief Executive Officer of the leading consumer goods brand, Alan Jope, explained that it is – “important to strengthen the strategic future of the company by announcing proposals to unify its dual-headed legal structure.”

He noted that the strategic review of the company’s global tea business would help the company to make new commitments that are expected to drive efforts to help protect the climate and regenerate nature.

What you should know

  • The tea and savoury segment (food products) of Unilever Nigeria Plc made a total of N34.71 billion in 2020.
  • This, however, is higher than the revenue of N31.91 billion the company made in 2019 through the sales of tea and savoury.
  • In total, the tea business which will be separated, generated revenues of €2 billion globally in 2019 for the company.

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