Business News in Brief

CBN to Delay Rate Meeting –Emefiele

Nigeria’s central bank will delay its next interest rate-setting meeting after a political spat over nominations for its Monetary Policy Committee, the governor said on Thursday.

Governor Godwin Emefiele told CNBC the meeting scheduled for March 19-20 would be delayed by about seven to 10 days, or at the latest until the first week of April, Reuters reports.

Nigerians Urged to Patronise Indigenous Products for Economic Growth

The Director-General, Niger State Industrial Parks Development Agency, Dr Abdulmalik Ndagi, has urged Nigerians to patronise indigenous products to help grow the economy.

Ndagi made the call in Abuja, when he spoke on the topic “Building Trust in Indigenous Products”, at the fourth edition of Science and Technology Expo (FASTECH 2018).

The theme of the expo was “Technology and Society in the 21st Century’’.

Nigeria’s External Reserves hits $46b

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says the nation’s external reserves currently stand at $46 billion.

Latest figures obtained from the apex bank indicate that the reserves grew by about $3.2 billion between February and March 2018.

The reserves at the beginning of 2018 stood at $39.3 billion, then rose to $42.8 in February before hitting the new high of $46 billion as at the close of work on Friday, March 9.

NAICOM takes over Unic Insurance Plc

The insurance sector on Friday avoided a catastrophic fall of one of its stakeholders after the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) confirmed it had taken over the management of Unic Insurance Plc to reposition the company for better performance.

NAICOM’s spokesman, Mr Rasaaq Salami, said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the takeover became imperative to rescue the company from distress.

Salami said the commission had subsequently appointed an interim board to manage the affairs of Unic Insurance Plc for the next six months.

CBN Warns Nigerians on Investment in Cryptocurrencies

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has again cautioned Nigerians to be wary of investments in crypto currency as they are virtual currencies that are not legal tender in Nigeria.

The Bank’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okoroafor, in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, said crypto currencies such as Bitcoin, Ripples, Monero, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Onecoin, and Exchanges such as NairaEx were not licensed or regulated by the CBN.

Barclays Africa Lifts Profit, Looks to Nigeria for Growth

Barclays Africa Group, South Africa’s No.2 lender by market value, plans to extend its reach throughout the continent, it said on Thursday after posting annual profit up nearly 4 percent.

Chief Executive Maria Ramos said the bank, which is changing its name back to South African brand Absa after its split from former parent Barclays, aims to enter Nigeria as it seeks to lift its share of the African market to 12 percent from 6 percent over the medium term.

Finance Director Jason Quinn told Reuters that Nigeria has been in its sights for some time.

Teleology Preferred Bidder for Nigeria’s 9mobile –Sources

Teleology Holdings Limited has emerged as preferred bidder for Nigeria’s fourth largest telecoms firm 9mobile and has been asked to pay a deposit of $50 million in March, two sources with knowledge of the deal told Reuters.

Nigerian regulators had set a Jan. 16 deadline to receive binding offers to acquire the debt-laden company. It had said five prospective bidders were in the running.

China Development Bank, UBA Sign $100m Facility for African SMEs

China Development Bank (CDB), the world’s largest development finance institution, and United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc have announced the signing of a $100 million seven-year loan agreement to finance the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Africa.

The $100 million loan will enhance UBA’s capacity to provide access to finance to small and medium enterprises across the 19 African countries where UBA currently operates.

Buhari Re-appoints Awolowo as NEPC Boss

Mr Olusegun Awolowo has been re-appointed as the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC).

President Muhammadu Buhari approved his re-appointment, Mr. Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity), said on Wednesday.

He said in a statement that a letter signed by Mr Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said the appointment lasts for four years.

Mr Awolowo, a lawyer and scion of the Obafemi Awolowo family, was first appointed to the NEPC position in 2013.

CBN gives Banks Two Weeks to Settle Complaints

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed banks and other financial institutions to settle customers’ complaints within two weeks.

The apex bank’s order touches on issues of overcharge, unauthorised deductions and other matters.

Mr Tajudeen Ahmed, The CBN Head of Complaints Management Division, said on Tuesday in Abuja the decision would ensure that banks’ customers received redress on issues of excess charges or unauthorised withdrawal.

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