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CBN raises commercial banks’ capital base to N500bn

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced an upward review of the minimum capital requirements for commercial, merchant and non-interest banks.

In a statement on Thursday, CBN said the increase was necessary due to prevailing macroeconomic challenges and headwinds occasioned by external and domestic shocks.

The statement was signed by Haruna Mustafa, director, financial policy and regulation department.

According to the apex bank, the upward review will enhance their resilience, solvency and capacity to continue to support the growth of the Nigerian economy.

CBN increased the capital base for commercial banks with international licences to N500 billion, while national and regional financial institutions’ capital bases were pegged at N200 billion and N50 billion, respectively.

 

The financial regulator said the capital base for national and regional non-interest banks is N20 billion and n10 billion, respectively.

To meet the minimum capital requirements, CBN advised banks to consider the injection of “fresh equity capital through private placements, rights issue and/or offer for subscription”.

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CBN also suggested merger and acquisition (M&A), as well as upgrade or downgrade of licences.

OTHER REQUIREMENTS FOR EXISTING BANKS

The minimum capital specified above shall comprise paid-up capital and share premium only. For the avoidance of doubt, the new capital requirement shall not be based on shareholders’ funds.

Additional tier 1 (AT1) capital shall not be eligible for the purpose of meeting the new requirement.
All banks are required to meet the minimum capital requirement within a period of 24 months commencing from April 1, 2024 and terminating on March 31, 2026.

Notwithstanding the capital increase, banks are to ensure strict compliance with the minimum capital adequacy ratio (CAR) requirement applicable to their license authorization.

In line with extant regulations, banks that breach the CAR requirement shall required to inject fresh capital to regularise their position.

OTHER REQUIREMENTS FOR PROPOSED BANKS

The minimum capital requirement shall be paid-up capital.

The new minimum capital requirement shall be applicable to all new applications for banking licences submitted after April 1, 2024.

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The CBN shall continue to process all pending applications for banking licences for which capital deposit had been made and/or approval-in-principle (AIP) had been granted. However, the promoters of such proposed banks shall make up the difference between the capital deposited with the CBN and the new capital requirement not later than March 31

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CBN said all banks are required to submit an implementation plan, clearly indicating the chosen option{s) for meeting the new capital requirement and various activities involved with their timelines.

 

“The plan shall be submitted to the Director, Banking Supervision Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, not later than April 30, 2024,” the apex bank said.

 

CBN said it will monitor and ensure compliance with the new requirements within the specified timeline above.

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Naira appreciates to N1,100/$ in parallel market

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The naira appreciated further on Monday in the parallel section of the foreign exchange (FX) market.

 

At the Lagos street market, currency traders, also known as bureau de change (BDC) operators, quoted the naira at N1,100 to the greenback.

 

The traders put the buying price of the dollar at N1,070 and the selling price at N1,100 — leaving a profit margin of N30.

 

The figure represents an appreciation of N50 or 4.34 percent from the N1,150/$ it traded on April 12.

 

At the FMDQ Exchange, a platform that oversees official foreign exchange (FX) trading in Nigeria, the local currency rose by 5.72 percent or N69.02 to N1,136.04/$ on Monday — from N1,205.06/$ on April 12.

 

On April 11, the presidency said President Bola Tinubu’s multi-faceted approach to eliminating foreign exchange (FX) racketeering is strengthening the naira against global currencies.

 

In a statement on Wednesday, Ajuri Ngelale, special adviser to the president on media, said the country’s financial position will improve, leading to the possibility of Nigerians experiencing a stronger naira and a decrease in the prices of goods.

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“The President has been very consistent in his view that the labour pains felt by our people and the incredible sacrifices made by our people over the past 10 months would be rewarded across the board,” Ngelale said.

 

On April 12, Goldman Sachs Group said the naira could extend gains to trade below N1,000 to the dollar.

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Naira strengthens, trades at N1,150/$ in parallel market

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The naira, on Friday, appreciated to N1,150 per dollar at the parallel section of the foreign exchange (FX) market.

Currency traders in Lagos, also known as bureau de change (BDCs) operators, quoted the buying rate of the greenback at N1,110 and the selling price at N1,150 — leaving a profit margin of N40.

 

The naira appreciated by 0.86 percent from the N1,160 recorded on April 11.

 

“The dollar is falling and it is not my fault. It is how the FX market is now,” Lawal, a BDC operator, said.

 

Also, FMDQ Exchange, a platform that oversees official foreign exchange (FX) trading in Nigeria, said the naira rose by 7.16 percent or N88.23 to N1,142.38/$ on Friday — from N1,230.61/$ on Monday.

 

The appreciation of the naira is coming a few days after the CBN opened the third tranche of sales to BDC operations.

 

The apex bank began the sale of foreign exchange to BDC operators at the rate of N1,101/$ on April 8.

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Also, on the same day, the CBN directed all banks to stop the use of foreign currency-denominated collaterals for naira loans.

 

The financial regulator is intensifying its efforts to boost liquidity and strengthen the naira.

 

Meanwhile, earlier today, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said the naira could extend gains to trade below N1,000 to the dollar.

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Air Peace: Patronise local airlines on int’l routes, Keyamo urges Nigerians

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The minister of aviation and aerospace development, Festus Keyamo, has asked Nigerians to fully patronise Air Peace and other local airlines flying international routes.

 

This, Keyamo said, is the only way local airlines can survive stiff competition from foreign carriers.

 

On March 30, Air Peace, Nigeria’s flag carrier, commenced its Lagos-London flight services — a landmark achievement celebrated by many Nigerians.

 

Following the milestone, Allen Onyema, chief executive officer (CEO) of Air Peace, on April 9, said some airlines are conspiring to take his company out of business by underpricing the flight tickets for the Lagos-London route.

According to the entrepreneur, the foreign airlines’ governments are supporting them to do this and take Air Peace out.

Speaking to TheCable on Thursday, Keyamo said while he cannot currently make a policy statement on what the Nigerian government will do to support Air Peace, President Bola Tinubu’s administration would continue to assist local entrepreneurs.

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“The first thing is for Nigerians to fully patronise not only Air Peace but all indigenous airlines on international routes. Before the federal government does anything, let Nigerians patronise him and know that this is our indigenous airline,” he said.

 

“As for government, I cannot make any policy statement for the government now because I am a minister. Whatever we can do, we will discuss that behind the scenes. But it’s wrong for me to make a policy statement now.

“As I have said earlier, one of my main goals in office is to help Nigeria’s domestic airlines grow and improve, supporting President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda”.

Keyamo added that the federal government would continue to protect Air Peace and other Nigerian carriers that may seek to operate international service.

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