08 Apr

Daily Watch – CBN sees forex freefall, MTN talks yet to commence

  • The CBN has seen a freefall in its foreign reserves for four consecutive days, after recording rises twice this year. The reserves, which lost about $40 million in March 2016, have recorded a fall of about $150 million in April alone. The reserves fell from $27,864,604,436 on March 31 to $27,707,692,115 on Wednesday April 6, 2016, CBN figures have confirmed. As at March 22, 2016, the foreign reserves had experienced a rise of $34.7 million in four days, rising from $27,853,597,008 on March 16 to $27,888,285,805 by March 21. In February, the reserves had such a rise, recording a leap of $13 million while finding its way out of 11-year low positions. After rising by $350 million in August 2015, the foreign reserves have not experienced any of such huge leaps in six months, but have seen falls to 11-year-low positions. The first consecutive rise started on Thursday February 24, from $27.804 billion to $27.823 billion as at February 29, surging gradually through the days in-between. The rise was attributed to a gradual recovery in oil prices and strict restrictions of capital flow. The recent fall is because of the release of funds to deposit money banks and the decline in oil prices ahead of the OPEC meeting in Doha on April 17.
  • President Buhari has pleaded with the National Association of Resident Doctors to shelve its plan to embark on strike and give the federal government more time to address the grievances of doctors. Speaking at a meeting with the leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association, the President gave the doctors an assurance that no agreements duly entered into by the federal government would be dishonoured by his administration. The President called for greater understanding and support from doctors and all Nigerians in view of the present shortfall in national revenue brought about by the decline in crude oil prices. While he noted the adverse effect of the fall in oil prices on the federal government’s spending plans for health and other sectors, the President said his administration will continue to do its best to address issues that are of concern to doctors and other Nigerians. The President also gave the NMA delegation an insight into his administration’s plan to establish 10,000 primary healthcare centres across the country in the next two years with the objective of providing better healthcare for about 100 million Nigerians.
  • Talks with MTN on how to pay what remains of the N780 billion fine imposed on it are yet to start because of lack of key negotiation instruments. The NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, said that though all key government agencies, including the NCC, had already made inputs into the proposals made by MTN to facilitate the negotiations, the inputs were yet to be fine-tuned for a formal negotiation to begin. Danbatta said that the telco giant made a proposal on how to pay the fine in such a way that it would not affect its business and its services to the Nigerian people. The NCC fined MTN N1.4 trillion last October for regulatory infractions, but the fine was reduced to N780 billion in December. MTN went to court to challenge the fine, but withdrew the case and paid N50 billion as a down payment in February.