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In order to reduce FX demand CBN implements digital invoicing for importers, exporters

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced a digital invoicing system for importers and exporters to curb over-pricing, the deputy governor said.

The new system that became operational February 1, seeks to “save more foreign exchange earnings that will be channeled to the most productive sectors of the economy,” said Kingsley Obiora in a communique published weekend on January’s monetary policy committee meeting.

“This will boost local production capacity, promote inclusive growth and sustain a strong naira exchange rate,” he said.

Importers and exporters must submit an electronic invoice authenticated by their banks. The central bank verifies all prices submitted based on a global benchmark.

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“The aim is to eliminate over-invoicing, mispricing of exports and imports, as well as activities of money laundering,” Obiora said.

The Abuja-based central bank has introduced various measures to curb dollar demand since 2020, following a crash in oil income that accounts for about 90 per cent of foreign exchange earnings. Still, it has been forced to devalue the local currency three times in the last two years and has a backlog of about $1.7 billion in unmet dollar demand from investors, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The local unit exchanged N415.61 to a dollar at the official spot market as of 2.56 p.m. in Lagos and traded 37 per cent weaker on the parallel market, owing to a shortage of the greenback.

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Moniepoint MfB, CAC partner to boost SMEs development, target 30 million businesses in 5 years

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In line with a critical mandate, of the Federal Government to unleash Nigeria’s full economic potential by focusing on job creation, access to capital for small and large businesses and inclusiveness, the definitive bank for small and medium-sized businesses in Nigeria, as well as their customers and employees, Moniepoint Microfinance Bank Limited and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) have joined forces to digitize and formalize operations for over 2 million small and medium businesses across Nigeria.

This unprecedented move will foster economic growth, ensure alignment with regulatory compliance whilst providing SMEs with access to capital that will enable them unlock their potentials, contribute significantly to job creation and drive shared prosperity.

In a brief ceremony which was held at the Bank of Industry, BOI office in Abuja, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite, while describing the initiative as monumental, reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to catalyzing economic development by supporting small and medium businesses with funding, thus creating a conducive environment for them to flourish and generate more opportunities.

Acknowledging Moniepoint’s innovative strides, Dr. Uzoka-Anite pledged greater collaboration towards formalizing additional MSMEs. She noted that the Federal Government was prepared to deepen its engagement with the company, adding that it would consider its request for provision of cheaper funding and grants to enable it draw more small businesses into the formal space, as well as create an enabling environment for them to thrive.

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“The current administration is excited and passionate about creating jobs, ensuring financial inclusion and poverty alleviation. These things add up towards economic development. A lot of people have ideas but are impeded by lack of access to the right learning environment and education. Which is why we are happy to collaborate and support players like Moniepoint to bring more people into the financial sector and help the government achieve its mandate,”, the Minister said.

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On his part, Managing Director, Moniepoint MFB, Mr. Babatunde Olofin expressed delight at the partnership and said that the engagement was in furtherance of the organization’s mantra of powering dreams while creating a society where everyone experiences financial happiness.

He said, “”We recognize that these businesses are the lifeblood of economies, so their growth directly supports the entire economy, essentially extending our ability to positively impact everyone else. We are heavily invested in super charging Nigeria’s economic ambitions so that enormous employment opportunities can be created and lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty. This initiative is in strong alignment with the Federal Government’s agenda – financial inclusion, job and wealth creation and economic growth. Our target is that in 5 years, we will onboard 30 million businesses in collaboration with the CAC as we leverage technology to create a win-win situation for all stakeholders.”

Registrar-General/Chief Executive, CAC, Hussaini Ishaq Magaji, SAN lauded the Minister for her visionary strides since assumption of office, noting that the feats recorded by the agency were results of the robust support and guidance she has consistently provided. He stated that the commission’s objective of formalizing 20 million small businesses while describing the 2 million businesses sign-up with Moniepoint MFB as a watershed moment in Nigeria’s economic trajectory which heralds a transformative shift that will lay a sturdy foundation for sustained growth and prosperity in Nigeria.

“Mr. President has promised 50 million jobs for the youths. This ground-breaking ceremony will set the target off. What we are witnessing today has never happened before in Nigeria. The participation of all these stakeholders underscores the profound significance of this occasion, symbolizing a unified resolve to propel Nigeria’s economic landscape towards unprecedented heights of progress and promise,” said the CAC boss.

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The registration of businesses and organizations across the nation has been a core mandate of the CAC over the years. This mandate which confers legal identities on businesses has been instrumental to connecting enterprises to essential opportunities that have facilitated access to financial facilities, and enabled them to increase their revenue streams.

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Shell supplies 475,000 barrels of crude oil to P’Harcourt refinery

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The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited said it has completed the supply of 475,000 barrels of crude oil to the Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited.

The SPDC said this was in furtherance of the Federal Government’s commitment to increase domestic refining capacity and make petroleum products more readily available in the country.

A statement by Shell Nigeria’s Media Relations Manager, Abimbola Essien-Nelson, on Monday disclosed that the company, “through its Bonny Oil & Gas Terminal has completed the supply of over 475,000bbls of crude oil to the Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited.”

According to Essien-Nelson, BOGT resumed the supply last week after a prolonged outage of over five years, during which time the Port Harcourt refinery underwent rehabilitation and integrity activities on its supply pipeline from Bonny Oil & Gas Termina.

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Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria and Managing Director, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, Dr Osagie Okunbor, had said, “Teams from BOGT and PHRC worked through intensive preparations, collaboration, and dedication to make the project successful.

“This is indeed a significant step in the nation’s renewed efforts to utilise key infrastructures to assure the steady supply of products from the refining company to the Nigerian market.”

Okunbor added, “Future supplies from BOGT would be guided by the demand for the product.”

Also, the Bonny Terminal Installation Manager, Osita Nnajiofor, was quoted as saying that before implementing the supplies of the product to the refining company, the project teams first assured the integrity of pipelines relevant to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited subsidiaries, as well as the integrity and maintenance activities on the BOGT refinery export pumps, which had been shut down for an extended period.

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Nnajiofor explained, “These actions resulted in the successful and safe completion of the refinery supply with no harm to people, environment, or equipment.

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“The recommencement of crude oil supply from the Bonny Oil and Gas Terminal to the Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited is a significant achievement and a game-changer for the industry and the country and will support the Federal Government’s aspiration of a steady supply of petroleum products to the downstream market and other associated benefits to the economy of the nation.”

Earlier the NNPCL has recently made known its decision to hand over the rehabilitated Port Harcourt refinery to private operators.

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NECA blasts NAFDAC over ban on sachet alcoholic beverages

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The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), yesterday, described the recent ban on the production of alcoholic drinks in sachets and small-sized bottles by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) as an act of economic sabotage.

Raising the alarm over the unintended consequences of the ban, NECA said it was an attempt to further drag businesses in the sector into the abyss.

The Director General of the Association, Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, said the recent ban on the production and sale of these products is not only ill-advised, but also ill-timed in view of the current scathing economic situation, the current rate of unemployment, the inability of the Customs to effectively police the borders and the likely loss of investment by these organizations.

“At a time when all economic fundamentals are against organized business with consequential effects on job creation and enterprise sustainability, the ban by NAFDAC will further drag businesses into the precipice and escalate the current rate of unemployment in the country,” he stated. The NECA boss noted that in a country where there are many unguarded entry points, this will also promote smuggling as unscrupulous elements will leverage on this ban to flood the market with dangerous adulterated products, while reiterating the Association’s opposition to the ill-advised NAFDAC action, the NECA Director General reiterated the importance of the Beverage and Alcoholic industry as a major provider of employment and a significant contributor to Government tax revenue.

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He explained that, while it is important to control the abuse of alcoholic drinks in the country, it is of greater importance to ensure business sustainability, employment creation and poverty reduction among households.

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According to him, “The consequential loss of jobs and investment will further escalate the already bad insecurity situation in the country.

Calling for a review of the ban, Oyerinde charged that campaign against the drinking of alcohol by underage children and commercial drivers should be intensified in all front, suggesting a stiffer penalty to deter this target groups.

He however stated that the sachet economy led businesses that produces commodities such as detergents, cocoa beverages, powdered milk, sachet drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) etc., came to be as a result of the “declining purchasing power of the citizen in meeting basic needs”.

“Therefore, alcoholic beverages in sachets, pet and glass bottles of 200ml are not targeted at underage children and commercial bus drivers, but a product of failing purchasing power of Nigerians,” he said.

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The NECA Director General however charged NAFDAC to reverse the ban and advocates for further dialogue with relevant Associations, particularly the Distillers Association, the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) among others in order to avoid the negative economic and social consequences of the ill-advised and ill-timed ban.

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