The Nigerian Naira has significantly declined versus the US dollar, despite recent intervention efforts by the Central Bank of Nigeria to resolve foreign currency backlogs and rebuild confidence. The Naira closed at N996.75 per dollar on the official market, but the parallel market recorded an exchange rate of N1090 per dollar, a new low and stoking fears about the currency’s stability.
On Thursday, the Naira recorded a notable N122.04 loss, reflecting a 12.24% decline compared to the previous day’s closing rate of N874.71. This represents a new all-time low, surpassing the previous record of N993.8 on October 30th.
Forex turnover at the official Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM) window experienced a substantial increase of 101.32%, reaching $228.54 million at the close of Thursday’s trading.
In the parallel market, there was a 5.5% depreciation, with an exchange rate quoted at N1090/$1. The narrowing gap between the official and black market rates, approximately N100, signifies a nearly 10% premium, a margin deemed acceptable in financial circles.
Financial experts, as reported by Nairametrics, are urging the Central Bank of Nigeria to implement decisive strategies to counteract the continuous depreciation of the Naira. Dr. Biodun Adedipe, founder of B. Adedipe Associates Limited, advocates for the de-dollarization of the economy by prohibiting local transactions in US dollars and selling crude oil to local refineries in Naira.
Addressing concerns about the stability of the economy as official and parallel market exchange rates converge, demands for transparency in transactions within the Investors and Exporters Window are escalating. Calls for broader market reforms are gaining momentum.
Aminu Gwadabe, President of the Association of Bureau de Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), warns currency speculators of impending consequences, asserting that the CBN is prepared to counteract hoarding and substituting Naira for other currencies. He views this as a positive development, emphasizing the risks associated with speculating, hoarding, and substituting the Naira with other currencies.
FG Allocates N3.2bn for State-of-the-Art Screening Machines in Major Airports
Nigeria has approved N3.2 billion for the acquisition of advanced screening machines at five major international airports in a move to enhance aviation security. The Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo, disclosed this development after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, chaired by President Bola Tinubu in Abuja.
The airports set to benefit from this initiative include Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Port Harcourt International Airport, Aminu Kano International Airport, and Enugu International Airport. The plan involves implementing sophisticated explosive and narcotic detection screening systems to replace manual bag searches.
Festus Keyamo highlighted the inefficiencies and challenges faced by passengers during manual bag searches, emphasizing the need for an improved system. The new detection machines are expected to swiftly identify explosives or illicit substances as bags pass through the screening process, streamlining the security procedures at airports.
“This is what Nigerians would be interested in because since I came to office, we have been inundated with complaints of the harrowing experiences that passengers go through at the airports where they have to physically search their bags,” said Keyamo. He outlined the plan to implement a system similar to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in America, ensuring a more efficient and secure screening process.
The awarded contracts, totaling N3.2 billion, will cover the supply and installation of customized explosives and narcotics detection screening systems with remote and dual view capabilities. This investment is anticipated to significantly enhance security measures within Nigeria’s aviation sector.
In addition to this development, Minister Keyamo announced that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) ratified Nigeria’s bilateral air service agreement with the Republic of Guyana, further strengthening diplomatic ties in the aviation sector.
Stakeholders Commend Kyari’s Reappointment, Urge Swift Implementation of Gas Policy
Stakeholders in the oil and gas sector have expressed approval for the reappointment of Malam Mele Kyari as the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the National Petroleum Company Ltd. (NNPCL). President Bola Tinubu’s decision to extend Kyari’s tenure has garnered positive reactions from industry insiders, who see it as a strategic move to ensure stability and further the ongoing reform initiatives in the sector.
Former President of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), Mr. Ajibola Oyebamiji, highlighted the crucial need to operationalize the refineries. He called on Kyari to use his renewed term to boost production, implement the gas policy, incentivize gas exploration, and support local gas utilization.
Oyebamiji stated, “The GCEO’s reappointment is a welcome development and cheering news for the oil and gas industry. He is a round peg in a round hole. For the stability of the industry and implementation of the ongoing reform policies, it is well-deserved.”
Dr. Emeka Akabogu, Executive Vice Chairman of OTL Africa Downstream, noted the pragmatic nature of Kyari’s reappointment in light of NNPCL’s transition into full private sector operations. Akabogu acknowledged Kyari’s efforts in this transitional phase and stressed the importance of organizational stability.
On his expectations, Akabogu stated, “I anticipate that he strengthens the establishment of a robust and competitive national oil company capable of competing both locally and internationally. It’s crucial for NNPCL to adhere strictly to competition regulations, especially when engaging with local operators in the downstream value chain.”
The newly appointed board of NNPCL features Chief Pius Akinyelure as the Non-Executive Board Chairman, Alhaji Umar Ajiya as the Chief Financial Officer, and Mr. Ledum Mitee as a Non-Executive Director, among others. The stakeholders’ emphasis on the swift implementation of the gas policy underscores the industry’s eagerness for strategic measures aligned with both national and international standards.
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