The CBN has denied importers of textiles and clothing materials in the country access to foreign exchange. The regulator ordered commercial banks and BDC operators to stop the sale of forex to the importers immediately. CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele said that the country spends $40 billion annually on imported textiles and ready-made clothing, describing the trend at as a scathing development that should be urgently addressed going forward. In July 2015, the apex bank restricted the availability of forex to the 41 items which could be competitively produced within the economy. Last December, the regulator added fertilisers to the list of 41 import items classified as not valid for forex in the Nigerian forex market effective from 7 December, 2018. 

Nigeria’s economy may face significant constraints due to a poor economic environment and political constraints, Global rating company, Fitch, has said, in its Africa Monitor report. The ratings agency said reform momentum, which was expected to trend upward after the February 2019 presidential race, has stalled, largely owing to political constraints. The firm stated that the country’s economy growth which increased in Q3 2018 compared with the previous quarter remains tepid and will continue to face downside risks over the short term. Fitch noted that growth of 1.8 percent in Q3 2018 was well below the average annual growth of 4.8 percent between 2011 and 2015, weighed down by weakness in the crucial oil sector. The country’s annual economic growth was led by the non-oil sector while oil production, although higher than in the previous quarter, saw a year-on-year contraction in Q3 2018. On the rising unemployment rate in the country, the agency said that this will continue to weigh on economic growth in 2019.

Shareholders of Access and Diamond banks have approved the $235 million takeover of Diamond Bank by Access Bank, the Tier-1 banks said on Tuesday. Diamond Bank would officially operate under the Access Bank brand from April 1. The merger involves Access Bank acquiring the entire issued share capital of Diamond Bank in exchange for a combination of cash and shares in Access Bank via a Scheme of Merger. Based on the agreement reached by the boards of the two financial institutions, Diamond Bank shareholders will receive a consideration of ₦3.13 per share, comprising ₦1 per share in cash.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has granted certificates of ‘no objection’ to 121 metering firms to procure and install electrical meters to yet-to-be metered power consumers in Nigeria through its Meter Assets Providers scheme. Recently, NERC announced that six in every 10 users of grid generated electricity supplied by the 11 electricity distribution companies in Nigeria have remained without meters. The non-availability of meters to this number of power users was sustaining the DisCos’ practice of estimated billing, and NERC indicated that it was about to introduce a regulation to cap estimated bills given every month to consumers by the DisCos.