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How I Plan to Address Challenges Facing CBN – Yemi Cardoso

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

The senate recently confirmed the appointment of a new leadership at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), comprising the Governor, Mr Olayemi Cardoso and four Deputy Governors.

This followed their nominations to the Upper Chambers of the National Assembly by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for consideration for appointments.

The new CBN Governor and his team have since swung into action to turn around the dwindling fortunes of the Apex Bank which the President in his inaugural address

stressed the urgent need to “clean up the CBN and its Monetary Policies”.

As a first step to this task, a special investigator appointed to look into the affairs of the CBN is currently at work.

Further to the clean-up exercise, the President deemed it necessary to bring in new leadership to the helm of affairs at the Central Bank.

According to a document obtained from the CBN, the new Governor has mapped out strategies where he enumerated the preliminary challenges confronting the Bank and how he intends to address them.

“I shall outline the challenges facing the Central Bank, introduce high-level proposals to address reformation challenges and discuss the role of a refocused Central Bank in supporting the economic agenda of the President Tinubu Administration.

*What are the current challenges facing the Central Bank of Nigeria? In assessing these challenges, preliminary questions are being raised on addressing them.

*Failure in corporate governance in CBN:

How will issues of governance be addressed?

*Diminished institutional autonomy:

How can public and financial systems’ stakeholder confidence be restored in the autonomy and integrity of CBN?

*Need to refocus CBN back to core functions:

What needs to be in place to revert to evidence-based Monetary policies?

Discontinuation of unorthodox Monetary policies and Foreign Currency management?

*Unorthodox use of Ways and Means spending:

What controls can CBN develop to enforce statutory limits in the use of Ways and Means of financing public sector deficit?

*Backlog of FX demand:

How much of the backlog is real versus speculative/ hoarding?

Are there creative financing options for clearing the short to medium term backlog?

*Lack of clarity in fiscal and monetary relationships – where are the delineations, and what should be the limits in CBN’s fiscal side interventions?

*Inflation and price stability:

What are the causes, and what is CBN’s proposed response to address inflation and price stability issues?

*Access to FX market and FX price discovery:

What mechanisms exist to address FX rate unification under a willing buyer and willing seller arrangement?

What should be the role of the Central Bank in the FX market?

Is there a need for interest rate realignment to money supply, inflation, and market realities?

*Current Financial System Stability:

What is the current state of the financial system?

Are CBN surveillance frameworks being updated proactively to track the expanding use of electronic payment systems by Fintech and Telcos?

These problem statements need in-depth review by the new Central Bank leadership team to determine what mechanisms are currently working, what can be tweaked or dispensed with and what new tools need to be introduced.

*How a refocused CBN can support economic growth.

Size Matters”

“The economic policy proposals of the Administration identify a set of fiscal reforms and growth targets that will achieve $1.0 TN GDP within eight years.  In reviewing selected BRICS and MINT countries, with large populations and similar developmental characteristics as Nigeria, it is interesting to identify macro-economic indices that point to Nigeria’s economic trajectory, given the faithful implementation of the proposed economic reforms. In economies bigger than $1.0TN, these indicators include moderate inflation, sizable foreign reserves, and the capacity to quickly rebound from a cyclical economic downturn.

“Advisory role of CBN

Much has been made of past CBN forays into development financing, such that the lines between monetary policy and fiscal intervention have blurred. In refocusing the CBN to its core mandate, there is a need to pull the CBN back from direct development finance interventions into more limited advisory roles that support economic growth.

“These advisory roles could include, for instance:

*Act as a catalyst in the propagation of specialised institutions and financial products that support emerging sectors of the economy.

*Facilitate new regulatory frameworks to unlock dormant capital in land and property holdings.

*Accelerate access to consumer credit and expand financial inclusion to the masses.

De-risking instrumentation to increase private sector investment in housing, textiles and clothing, food supply chain, healthcare, and educational supplies.

“These verticals have huge demand patterns, with the potential for high local inputs and value retention, and can be the basis for rapid industrialisation.

Exercise CBN’s convening power to bring key multilateral and international stakeholder participation in government and private sector initiatives. 

Conclusion

Cardoso said, “It must be emphasised that CBN does not have a magic wand that can be waved at the current economic challenges. The problems facing the bank are large and complex. However, with focused leadership and sustained reforms, it is expected that over time, the country will gain open economic spaces, attract new investments, create employment, and give our hardworking and talented compatriots an opportunity for a more prosperous future”.

BUSINESS

Local Content: NCDMB Holds Knowledge-Sharing Session with Mozambique

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From Mike Tayese, Yenagoa

In keeping with Nigeria’s leadership role in the development of Local Content in Africa, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has concluded a two-day Local Content development experience-sharing session with a delegation from Mozambique’s national oil company, Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH).

The engagement was held on the sidelines of the 8th Sub-Saharan Africa International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference, in Lagos.

NCDMB’s delegation was led by the Executive Secretary, Engr.

Felix Omatsola Ogbe, while Mozambique’s team was led by the Chairman of Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos, Mr.
Estevao Rafeal Pale.

The experience-sharing session was facilitated by Aberdeen Global Strategies & Solutions, under the leadership of Dr. Mark Osa Igiehon, who consults for ENH Mozambique.

In his introductory comments, the Executive Secretary conveyed NCDMB’s commitment to supporting African oil-producing nations in developing and implementing local content policies as a strategy for improving indigenous participation and value optimization from hydrocarbons and mineral resources.

He lauded the giant strides recorded by Mozambique in its gas sector and advised against repeating the mistakes made by Nigeria in the early years of its oil and gas industry.

Represented by the Director of Monitoring and Evaluation, NCDMB, Mr. Abdulmalik Halilu, the Executive Secretary explained that every oil and gas-producing nation must choose to either focus on optimizing revenue generation or maximizing in-country value from the activities of the industry.

He stated that the revenue generation option encourages oil and gas operators to seek the cheapest and fastest route to first oil, while the Government collects maximum revenue in the form of taxes and royalties for development and pays little attention to value addition from industry operations.

He explained that the alternative option focuses on maximizing in-country value and promoting the development and use of local capacities. This model obligates operators in the industry to consider long-term value, while the Government takes lower revenue in exchange for higher in-country value and pays greater attention to life-cycle support for operators.

Speaking further, the NCDMB boss listed key parameters that are critical to in-country value addition and growth of the oil and gas sector on a sustainable basis. These factors are Regulatory Framework, Gap Analysis, Capacity Building, Funding and Incentives, Research and Development, and Access to Market.

He hinted that a Local Content policy backed with appropriate legislation is very fundamental in local content practice, adding that baseline and periodic gap analyses are essential to determine gaps that need to be closed in the areas of skills, facilities and infrastructure.

He also stressed the need to develop in-country capacities and capabilities and utilise them through oil and gas projects.

The knowledge-sharing programme also featured a presentation on Funds and Funding of NCDMB, delivered by the Director of Finance and Personnel Management, NCDMB, Dr. Obinna Ofili.

The Director was represented by the Head, Credit Analysis and Risk Management, Mrs. Chika Enwerem–Okidi, and underlined the need for dedicated funding that would be applied to developing local content in the oil sector.

The Director mentioned that the Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF) is provided for in section 104 of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act and is contributed by 1% of every contract awarded in the upstream section of the oil and gas industry.

He added that the NCDF has been deployed in several successful projects, including the building of human and material capacities, the $350 million Nigerian Content Intervention Fund, the ongoing development of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Parks Scheme (NOGAPS), the construction of the NCDMB 17-story corporate headquarters, and 3rd party investments, many of which created jobs for Nigerians and yield interest for the Board.

The second day of the knowledge-sharing programme featured presentations on the operating framework for planning, research and statistics, capacity building, projects certification and authorization and monitoring and evaluation.

The Director of Projects Certification and Authorization, Engr. Abayomi Bamidele highlighted NCDMB’s role in the award of contracts for oil and gas projects and how opportunities are captured for the local economy, using the Nigerian Content Plan and the Contracting Strategy submitted by operating companies for the Board’s review and approval.

He underlined that local content should be promoted as a national agenda for every country and the right data must be collected to establish current realities and gaps to the target.

He emphasised the need for in-country capacity building based on areas of strengths and weaknesses as well as continuous projects to keep the developed capacities engaged.

The knowledge-sharing programme was very interactive and the Mozambican officials sought clarifications on the Board’s model of enforcing Local Content Compliance, monitoring projects, supervising third-party investments, and many other areas.

The programme was convened in line with the Sectorial and Regional Market Linkage Pillar of the Nigerian Content 10-year strategic roadmap. The roadmap requires NCDMB to support other African oil-producing countries and to develop new markets and partnership opportunities for the benefit of competent Nigerian operating and oil service companies.

NCDMB has provided similar guidance to numerous African nations, including Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda.

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BUSINESS

NAICOM, Ministry Collaborate on Youth Career Development, Entrepreneurship

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Tony Obiechina, Abuja

The Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Youth Development Mr. Ayodele Olawande paid a courtesy visit to the Commissioner for Insurance Mr. Olorundare Sunday at NAICOM’s headquarters in Abuja.

The purpose of the visit was to discuss potential collaboration opportunities between the Ministry and NAICOM in advancing youth development initiatives, particularly in the areas of financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and career development.

The Commissioner for Insurance in his remarks welcomed the Minister and gave a brief history and overview of the Nigerian insurance industry, the administrative structure of the Commission as well as its achievements in the area of financial inclusion, transition to risk-based supervision and IFRS 17, setting up of the West African Insurance Supervisors Association and the College of Insurance Supervisors of the West African Monetary Zone.

The Minister for State in his remarks thanked the NAICOM Management for the warm reception. He expressed his desire for the Ministry to collaborate with NAICOM in engaging the Nigerian youth formally and informally to develop their skills.

He noted that the Ministry had developed a digital platform (app) called Nigerian Youth Academy (NIYA) where Nigerian youth could learn vocational and digital skills.

He requested to collaborate with NAICOM in the building of insurance educational module to be uploaded on the NIYA platform as this will go a long way in training the youths and improve their level of financial literacy, help in entrepreneurship and job creation, career development and sensitise youth on the benefits of insurances.

The CFI promised to convey the Minister’s request to relevant parties (The Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria and the College of Insurance and Financial Management) within the Nigerian Insurance Industry.

NAICOM Boss Olorundare Sunday (r) with the Minister of State for Youth Development, Mr. Ayodele Olawande during a courtesy visit

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Economy

We Currently have $30bn Investment Commitments – FG

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The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite, says Nigeria currently has about 30 billion dollars investment committment from various investors.

Uzoka-Anite said this at the ongoing Ministerial Media briefing in Abuja on Friday.

According to her, the commitments will be redeemed over the course of five to eight years.

She said investments, commitments, and pledges were also received from our oil and gas free zone, adding that last week, some of them committed an additional 10 billion dollars in investments.

“I hosted the managing director of SHELL who explained to me about the investment plans of shell.

“ I know a lot of us are aware that shell is leaving; he came to explain to me what they mean by that.

And I can tell you that they are not leaving.

“Rather, they are expanding and increasing their investments in Nigeria; they are selling their onshore assets and increasing their investment in gas and offshore assets.” she said.

Uzoka-Anite, who envisaged more investments into the country, said  it would not have been possible without the commitment of President Bola Tinubu led administration.

She said that with increased investments comes job opportunities and economic growth, which wss part of the priority of the government. (NAN)

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